Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian, and "Pollo alla cacciatora" means a chicken stew, hunter-style. It is a classic Tuscan dish, a brothy, aromatic one-pot stew. In its most basic form, it consists of chicken or rabbit and spices, the essential ones being thyme, parsley, and oregano. Chicken Cacciatora uses the dark meat of the chicken which is fattier but has more flavor. The meat is cooked until it literally falls off the bone. When finished, the dish can be served alone or with polenta or mashed potatoes.
The recipe is very simple to prepare and very tasty, thanks to the savory ingredients such as onion, tomato and red wine that enhance the flavor of the chicken. The origins of this recipe are among the poor who used what they had available to eat. The chickens they raised became, in the days of celebration, a sumptuous meal enriched with vegetables and the flavor of freshly opened red wine.
Pollo alla cacciatora is somewhat similar to coq au vin, in that both are poultry stews with wine and vegetables. Coq au vin differs in marinating the chicken in wine prior to cooking, the use of lardons as well as being flamed with brandy.
Last updated: October 12, 2010