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FOOD HOLIDAY: National Chicken Cacciatore Day

Chicken cacciatore. Photo by Evan Joshua
Swigart | Wikimedia.


October 15th is National Chicken Cacciatore Day. Chicken cacciatore (cah-cha-toe-ray) is Italian country fare. Cacciatore means hunter, so the dish is “hunter-style” (in Italian, pollo alla cacciatora).

The game that the hunter brought home was braised in olive oil with local vegetables—a light tomato sauce with garlic, herbs and onions, plus wild mushrooms, bell peppers and a bit of wine (white wine in the north, red wine in the south).

The dish has its roots in in central Italy in the Renaissance and has many variations, both there and throughout the country. One of the more unusual is salamino cacciatore, made with a small salame.

Chicken cacciatore has been called a “hunter’s solace,” with poultry from the yard or market replacing the pheasant or hare that got away. The wild mushrooms were foraged in the forest by the hunter.

This recipe serves 6.




  • 4-pound chicken, cut in pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 or more cloves garlic, to taste
  • 1/4 pound mushrooms*, sliced
  • Optional: 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine, white wine or sherry
  • 1 can (six ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, drained
  • Herbs: basil, bay leaf, fennel seeds, oregano, rosemary, thyme; plus chili flakes for a spicy sauce
    Although it isn’t a tradition, we like to add olives to this dish.


    1. SEASON. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, pepper and flour.

    2. BROWN. Brown the chicken in olive oil. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Stir until onion turns yellow.

    3. COMBINE. Return the chicken to the pan. Add wine or sherry. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove garlic. Add tomato paste.

    4. ADD. Add crushed tomatoes and herbs. Simmer for 45 minutes. If the sauce is to thick, thin with chicken broth, tomato juice or water.

    Serve atop noodles or rice.

    Find more of our favorite chicken recipes.

    *Use wild mushrooms if possible. You can also use dried wild mushrooms, reconstituted.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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