‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.’ -St. Augustine
The world is indeed a book and if we would limit ourselves to only one page we would miss out on the greatest food of all: chicken cacciatore.
The Italian cuisine is renowned all over the world for its amazing recipes and divine taste. The chicken cacciatore stands as testimony of all that is pure and delicious in this world. From pasta to pizza or cannoli, Italians do know their food.
Actually, great food and great loving is what characterizes them best. And great wines, of course! But everyone should consider the order according to their pleasure (wink, wink). Chicken cacciatore is no exception to the rule. Stay tuned to discover a bit more about the history of the most famous chicken in the world.
Why is Chicken Cacciatore so famous?
Whenever I say Italian food I think of a few things: family love, family gathered around the table, comfort and a full belly. This is probably the reason why so many people adore this type of cuisine. It soothes our senses and it provides a fuzzy feeling of warmth and pleasure.
The origin of chicken cacciatore is in the area of Southern Italy during the Renaissance period (1450-1600) and it has many possible explanations. Some state that it was considered a dish for the wealthy population because they were the only ones who could afford to enjoy poultry or hunting.
Others say that it was what hunters used to eat after a long day of chasing a ‘papa bear.’ But just as in life, while chasing for the big thing we sometimes have to settle for small auxiliaries in order to keep on going. This version is probably closer to the truth taking into account that the translation of its name means ‘hunter style.’
However there is one more version stating that the other ‘mortals’ found a way to adapt this recipe to their humble conditions and used domestic poultry to cook this easy and delicious recipe. At least this way they could offer the chickens a chance to feel like heroes in the wilderness.
Anyway, coming back to what we originally started discussing, chicken cacciatore is a combination of chicken, tomato sauce, wine, mushrooms or pepper bell. The recipes vary according to the ingredients available in the region where they are being prepared. But this doesn’t make them less delicious. Below you can find one of the ‘original’ recipes that made chicken cacciatore so incredibly dreamy. Now repeat after me ‘chicken cacciatore’ with an Italian accent and hand gestures and off you go into the kitchen!
Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
|1 whole chicken, bone-in|
|8 oz mixed mushrooms|
|1 red pepper|
|5 garlic cloves|
|handful of olives|
|1 cup chicken broth|
|1 cup wine (red or white)|
|1 ¼ oz can crushed tomatoes|
|1 ¼ oz whole tomatoes|
|olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme|
How to cook it?
1. Start by preparing the chicken for the big moment. Season it with salt, pepper and sprinkled oregano. While you let it rest, heat some olive oil into an iron skillet. The big moment has arrived: place the chicken into the skillet and let it there until it gets a brownish color. Make sure you turn it from one side to the other regularly to avoid the ebony and ivory look.
2. Set aside the chicken and sauté the vegetables, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme. Add some wine and let it simmer. Then add the chicken broth and tomatoes, sprinkling some salt, pepper and chopped basil.
3. Now that you’ve prepared this swimming pool, toss the chicken in there and let it sink. It should simmer for a couple of hours until the meat falls off the bones. Garnish everything with fresh parsley. Buon appetito!