Rustic, hearty, and perfect for fall, my Quick and Easy Chicken Cacciatore is bursting with bright colors and fresh flavor!
When the weather cools down and there’s a chill in the air, I start to crave hearty, satisfying dishes like soups and stews. Chicken Cacciatore is the quintessential stick-to-your-ribs comfort food. Granted, now that I live in South Florida, I don’t get to experience too much of a change in season. The extent of our cold weather is that dips down into the upper 60s in the evenings once November rolls around. Still, for many locals, that’s enough of an excuse to pull out their winter boots!
Chicken Cacciatore is a classic Italian dish made with chicken that’s braised in a hearty tomato-based sauce. Vegetables like mushrooms and bell peppers are typically added to this rustic stew and the dish can be served with crusty bread, pasta or polenta. There are an endless number of variations of this dish and you can customize it by adding your favorite vegetables and ingredients.Rustic, hearty, and perfect for fall, my Chicken Cacciatore is bursting with bright colors and fresh flavor! Click To Tweet
I decided to make a quick and easy version of classic Chicken Cacciatore because, let’s face it, we all need fast, reliable dinner recipes that we can get on the table quickly. This dish is family-friendly- you can even get your kids involved in the prep, washing and chopping the colorful veggies. For the base of my tomato sauce, I decided to take a little help from the store and picked up some jarred marinara sauce. I also picked up fresh, colorful vegetables and herbs like bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and basil.
First, I seared the chicken in a hot pot. I used my enameled cast-iron braiser but I’ve also made this dish in my Dutch oven. Part of the reason that my Chicken Cacciatore is “quick and easy” is because I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The classic dish is made with a bone-in chicken that’s cut into parts and braised for hours. By using boneless chicken, you seriously cut down the cooking time so that you can enjoy Chicken Cacciatore even on busy weeknights. Using skinless chicken also means less calories and saturated fat, which is an added plus.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot and add your chopped vegetables and herbs. If you’re really pressed for time, I would suggest chopping your vegetables a day ahead so that you can just toss everything into the pot. At this point, I like to add a splash of wine for rich flavor but you can skip it if you like. Finally, add the marinara sauce and some chicken stock and nestle the chicken thighs back into the sauce. Then, cover the pot and cook until tender. Just before serving, I like to add some fresh basil for a pop of color and flavor.
Chicken and colorful, fresh vegetables braised in a rich, hearty tomato sauce- what’s not to love?
Quick and Easy Chicken Cacciatore
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1.75 lbs)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, sliced (about 1½ cups)
- 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
- ¼ cup red wine (optional)
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1 ½ cups jarred marinara sauce
- ½ cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup fresh basil, torn
- Heat the oil in large braiser or Dutch oven over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add them to the pot. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes, then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes on the second side. Remove chicken from pot and place on a plate.
- Add the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, bell peppers, and mushrooms to the pot and season them with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté 4-5 minutes until softened. Add the wine and cook 2-3 minutes until reduced, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the oregano, tomatoes, capers, marinara sauce and chicken broth and stir to combine. Nestle the chicken thighs back into the sauce, covering them. Cover the pot and simmer on medium low heat until chicken is cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Uncover and cook another few minutes until sauce thickens. Stir in the basil.
- Serve with pasta, polenta or crusty bread.
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Are you looking for more tasty chicken dinners? Try these recipes from the blog: