Cacciatore or alla cacciatora (hunter style) is an easy traditional dish prepared with a chicken (pollo alla cacciatora) or a rabbit (coniglio alla cacciatora), 2 pounds of tomatoes, one medium onion, 1 carrot, rosemary, half a glass of wine or two tablespoons of vinegar, salt and pepper. That’s the basic recipe. It is an old summer dish created by Tuscan farmers, when the young chickens were ready to be eaten. July and August were kind of a ‘chicken season’ because Italian farmers could not afford to eat chicken for the rest of the year, aside from the main holidays. During winter they raised hens for the eggs.
Each Italian region has a particular way to cook chicken with tomato sauce depending on the herbs and vegetables growing in the area. In Rome and surrounding areas, nothing says summer chicken like “pollo con i peperoni”, chicken with peppers, a similar dish.
This is how Chicken Cacciatore is made: sear the chicken parts in very little olive oil for 10 minutes, until they are golden on both sides. Add the finely chopped carrot and onion, rosemary, salt and pepper, and let it sear for 5 minutes. Add the wine and let it evaporate. Add the chopped or crushed tomatoes, cover, lower the fire, and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover, and cook for 5 more minutes to let the water from the tomatoes evaporate. Taste to fix seasoning.
It can be served with rustic bread or polenta or pasta, and it can be eaten hot or cold. A great summer dish.
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