When I was a child, I hated bell peppers and onions. I’d pick them out of everything! Then, my mom started making the most delicious chicken cacciatore and I finally started liking peppers and onions. There’s just something about this dish that is so comforting to me to this day. I don’t have her recipe, so I created my own based on memory. My Easy Chicken Cacciatore is simple, tasty, and will quickly become a family favorite.
What is “cacciatore?” According to Wikipedia, “cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. In cuisine, alla cacciatora refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with onions, herbs, usually tomatoes, often bell peppers, and sometimes wine. Cacciatore is popularly made with braised chicken or rabbit.’
How to Make Easy Chicken Cacciatore
First, let’s talk about the chicken. This is one of those recipes that you must use chicken thighs in. If you’re a “chicken breast only” type of eater, I urge you to try cooking with chicken thighs. They are so much more flavorful, juicier, and more tender than breast meat. Yes, there’s more fat but just cut it off and cook!
The package I grabbed at the store happened to only have seven thighs but 8-10 are better for this recipe. Use boneless, skinless thighs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then brown both sides in canola oil. Set aside on a plate while making the sauce.
Cook two bell peppers plus a yellow onion until soft. If the pan gets dry, just add a little more oil.
Next, add garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Stir to combine.
Add the thighs back to the pan and nestle down in the sauce. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Dinner is done!
How to Serve
My mom always served this over white rice but my kids are pasta lovers, so I use whatever short pasta I have on hand for my Easy Chicken Cacciatore. Another typical ingredient in cacciatore is mushrooms but I guess my kids rule because I always leave them out. If you add them, just sauté fresh, sliced mushrooms with the peppers and onions.
Easy Chicken Cacciatore is a simple weeknight meal that looks and tastes like you’ve spent hours. It can be our secret that you got it on the table in under an hour!
Easy Chicken Cacciatore
- 8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Shredded Parmesan, for topping
- Sprinkle both sides of thighs with salt and pepper. Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium-high and add 2 tablespoons of canola oil.
- Add thighs to the skillet and cook about 4 minutes per side, or until each side is browned. Remove thighs and set on a plate.
- Turn heat down to medium then add peppers and onions to the pan. Cook about 7 minutes or until softened (add more oil if pan is too dry).
- Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon of salt, and pepper to taste. Stir to combine then add thighs back into pan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
- Just before serving, add parsley. Serve over short pasta or rice. Top individual servings with parmesan.
- Sliced, fresh mushrooms can be added as well. Sauté with the peppers and onions before adding sauce ingredients.