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Dutch Oven Chicken Cacciatore

White meat and dark meat chicken pieces are seared to perfection, seasoning an outrageous pan sauce rich with a thick wine reduction.

Olive oil, Italian seasoning, chicken, and a can of crushed tomatoes are the humble beginnings of this, the comfort food of comfort foods, an easy Chicken Cacciatore recipe. The Americanized version of this classic Italian dish starts out on the stove-top and finishes in the oven.

Use red wine or white wine in conjunction with a Dutch oven to execute the braise in this method. This equals one pot, low and slow, and largely hands off.

The accompanying tomato sauce or pan sauce is altogether decadent boasting colorful bits of fresh pepper, carrot, and onion, briny Niçoise olives, fresh herbs, and of course, tomatoes. Be sure to serve with thick, crusty bread and alongside or over top your favorite pasta or risotto side.

So, hold onto your britches, because this is about to become among your favorite chicken recipes. I dare say that leftovers are even better the next day!

a big red Dutch oven filled with Italian Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients required to Make Chicken Cacciatore

  • olive oil
  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • a large onion
  • fresh garlic cloves
  • gem peppers, varying colors
  • a large carrot
  • branches fresh thyme
  • sprigs fresh parsley
  • a bay leaf
  • dried oregano
  • red wine or white wine
  • tomato paste
  • can crushed tomatoes
  • fresh basil leaves
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • pitted Niçoise olives (may also use pitted Kalamata olives)
  • parmesan cheese

optional

  • crusty bread
  • favorite pasta or vegetable noodles
  • cooked polenta
  • cooked risotto
chopped garlic cloves with fresh basil leaves and diced peppers and onions

How to Make Chicken Cacciatore

A Dutch oven does the heavy lifting in this easy recipe. It’s unnecessary to make your vegetables ‘pretty’ when chopping as everything will be reduced to a rustic sauce.

Savory flavors are the name of the game, so ensure that whatever wine you intend to use to deglaze the bottom of the pan is dry; think Sauvignon Blanc or a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sear the Chicken

Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Cut the chicken breasts and thighs into large, 2 1/2-inch to 3 1/2-ich chunks. Place atop a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and season generously with salt and pepper all over and on both sides.

In your largest Dutch oven over medium-high heat, bring olive oil to shimmering. Beginning with the thigh pieces, place into the hot oil and sear undisturbed for 2 minutes.

Turn the pieces, searing on the second side for 1 minute more and golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the thigh pieces to a bowl and cover tightly with foil before repeating the process with the breast pieces, being careful not to overcook.

NOTE: the chicken will NOT be cooked through, rather will finish cooking during the braising step.

Sauté the Vegetables

Add a hint more oil to the Dutch oven. Dice a single, large onion and sauté until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 6 cloves of garlic roughly chopped and cook one minute more.

Use kitchen twine to tie off and secure the thyme branches, sprigs of parsley, and single bay leaf into a bouquet garni. All at once, add diced gem peppers, a finely diced or shredded carrot, dried oregano, and the bouquet garni to the Dutch oven and stir well to combine.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the veg are soft, about 5 minutes. I like to tie the end of my bouquet garni string to the handle of my Dutch oven, so I am not left fishing it out later.

Deglaze the Pot

Pour in the wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits.

Cook until the wine has reduced significantly, at least 2 minutes. Reducing will foster caramelization and the intentional elevation of sugar, and you want this to lessen the acidity of the tomatoes at the end.

Make a well in the center of the softened vegetables and add in tomato paste. Cook the paste for several minutes until it turns brown. Again, we’re coaxing caramelization and the intentional elevation of sugar.

Add in a can of crushed tomatoes, torn fresh basil leaves, and crushed red pepper flakes. If you do not have crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes will work. Return the chicken pieces along with all accumulated juices to the pot.

Braise the Dish

Season with salt and pepper and pop the lid onto the pot leaving the bouquet garni string tied to the handle, the herbs submerged in the sauce. Place the covered Dutch oven into the pre-heated oven and braise for 35 minutes.

After 35 minutes, remove the lid, add the olives, and place back into the oven, uncovered, for another 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before dusting with parmesan cheese and serving.

Modifying the Norm to Make It Not Entirely Average

  • Rather than dicing, cut your peppers into long, thin strips and slice the onions. This makes the finished dish more of a stew consistency versus a sauce.
  • I recently enjoyed this dish where the hostess added sausage hunks to the finished sauce just before serving and it was fabulous. She also served the finished dish over mashed potatoes which was clever!
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Dutch Oven Chicken Cacciatore

Jenny from Not Entirely Average
White meat and dark meat chicken pieces are seared to golden perfection seasoning an outrageous pan sauce with browned bits and liquid gold.
No ratings yet
Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian, Southern
Servings 6 servings
Calories 131 kcal

Equipment

  • Dutch oven with lid
  • kitchen twine

Ingredients
 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 2 1/2 to 3 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large or 2 smaller boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 2 1/2 to 3 1/2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 6 cloves garlic rough-chopped
  • 2 yellow gem peppers diced
  • 2 red gem peppers diced
  • 2 orange gem peppers diced
  • 1 large carrot peeled and diced finely or shredded
  • 6 branches thyme fresh
  • 6 sprigs parsley fresh
  • 1 large bay leaf dried
  • 1 teaspoon oregano dried
  • 5 ounces dry red or dry white wine
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves fresh, torn
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup pitted Niçoise olives may substitute pitted Kalamata olives
  • grated parmesan cheese to taste

optional for serving

  • crusty bread
  • favorite pasta or vegetable noodles
  • cooked polenta
  • cooked risotto

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Place chicken pieces atop a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and season generously with salt and pepper all over and on both sides.
  • Over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven, bring 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to shimmering. Beginning with the thigh pieces, place into the hot oil and sear undisturbed for 2 minutes. Turn the pieces, searing on the second side for 1 minute more and golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the thigh pieces to a bowl and cover tightly with foil before repeating the process with the breast pieces. NOTE: the chicken will NOT be cooked through, rather will finish cooking during the braising step.
  • Add remaining tablespoon oil to the Dutch oven. Add in diced onion and sauté until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook one minute more.
  • Tie off and secure the thyme branches, sprigs of parsley, and single bay leaf into a bouquet garni. Add gem peppers, carrot, dried oregano, and the bouquet garni to the Dutch oven and stir well to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the veg are soft, about 5 minutes. I like to tie the end of my bouquet garni string to the handle of my Dutch oven, so I am not left fishing it out later.
  • Deglaze the pot wine using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits. Cook until the wine has reduced significantly, at least 2 minutes. Make a well in the center of the softened vegetables and add in tomato paste. Cook the paste for several minutes until it turns brown.
  • Add in crushed tomatoes, torn fresh basil leaves, and red pepper flakes and stir. Return the chicken pieces along with all accumulated juices to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the lid onto the pot leaving the bouquet garni string tied to the handle and the herbs submerged in the sauce. Place the covered Dutch oven into the pre-heated oven and braise for 35 minutes.
  • After 35 minutes, remove the lid, add the olives, and place back into the oven, uncovered, for another 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before dusting with parmesan cheese and serving.

Notes

Please Note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not use table salt or iodized salt in any of the recipes you find on Not Entirely Average UNLESS specified otherwise.
If the Sauce Appears Too Thin add 2 tablespoons of additional tomato paste to the sauce and stir to thicken.
To Make Ahead assemble and cook cacciatore completely. Cover and refrigerate until ready to re-heat. To Re-Heat the Cacciatore remove from refrigerator one hour before reheating. Place over medium-low heat for 25 minutes or until thoroughly warmed through. To Freeze the Cacciatore transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To Thaw place in refrigerator overnight.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 131kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 2gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 275mgPotassium: 246mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2538IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 42mgIron: 1mg
Keyword chicken, chicken cacciatore, Dutch oven
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