Eat Clean! Healthy Chicken Cacciatore Recipe

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Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore / Gail Ingram Photography

Chicken cacciatore is a relatively new dish for me. Clearly I am not Italian though as this classic entrée is about as standard in Italian homes as spaghetti and meatballs.  It is “family style” food, the kind of dish you can vividly imagine a big Italian family informally digging right into, talking over one another and happily eating away.

In fact, the first time I ever had chicken cacciatore was a few years ago at a family gathering at my mother-in-laws. As I have recently learned, like so many Italian dishes, there are a jillion different interpretations of chicken cacciatore. The version my mother-in-law served was saucy, flavorful and plenty moist and best of all eating it didn’t leave you with that dreaded, heavy and “drowning in your food” sort of feeling. I was sure it had to be a homespun recipe because it just tasted too good to be catered —plus more often than not, a tell-tale sign you are eating restaurant or catered food is if it has a heavy oil hand, which this dish definitively did not. But, it turns out the healthy chicken cacciatore was actually catered by a local Italian gourmet market (Joseph’s Classic Market). This is not a bad thing because Joseph’s is a fine place to get food, but it did mean I didn’t have the chicken cacciatore recipe to recreate at home….

The healthy chicken cacciatore recipe was just too good to not have again so I decided I better try and figure out how to make it myself.  After researching chicken cacciatore recipes galore I came up with a few different versions, but this one is my favorite. This healthy chicken cacciatore recipe has it all—lots of veggies, superior taste and easy prep too! You can serve it on top of pasta for a complete Italian dinner or with a side dish of quinoa or millet.  Oh, and leftovers make a great sandwich with steamed garlicky spinach nestled between slices of toasted sprouted whole grain bread.

P.S. Be sure to buy the healthiest chicken! You definitely want to buy organic PASTURED chicken. Chickens require pasture along with insects, grubs and worms (sounds gross, but that’s what chickens are supposed to eat) in order to be optimally healthy and to have the most nutritious meat, so you never ever want a “vegetarian” chicken. Organic chicken and free range chicken are of course much better choices than the standard factory farmed chicken, which by the way, I simply refuse to eat anymore. But the absolute gold-standard for the healthiest and best tasting chicken is an organic, PASTURED chicken. If the chicken is not labeled PASTURED then it is not.

Healthy Chicken Cacciatore Recipe

Serves 6

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, organic, pastured skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Unrefined sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Paprika, to taste
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour, for dredging
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 (14.5 ounce can) petite diced tomatoes (such as Muir Glen Fire Roasted with Roasted Garlic), with juice
  • 3/4 cup organic free-range chicken broth (such as Pacific Natural Foods)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
  1. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Liberally sprinkle the chicken with paprika. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly. In a large heavy sauté pan (preferably cast-iron), heat 2 tablespoons oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and sauté until just brown, about 5 minutes per side (note: if all the chicken does not fit in the pan, sauté it in two batches.) Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.  
  2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the same “dirty” pan used to cook the chicken. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic; sauté over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.  
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes, broth, garlic powder, crushed red peppers, and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes.. Sprinkle chicken with parsley and serve.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Edna Axelrod says

    Hi,

    My husband is vegan, so I am wondering if this would be good without the chicken. Or is there another ingredient to add for a vegan version?

    • says

      Hi Edna, Extra firm sprouted tofu (which is fimer than regular “firm” tofu) might work very well–but you might also try tempeh. In fact, I have a vegan tempeh cacciatore recipe that our family loves. Here’s the recipe below. Hope this helps? –ivy

      12 ounces tempeh (1 ½ packages), cut into bite-sized squares
      3 tablespoons cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, divided
      Real Salt, to taste
      Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
      Paprika, to taste
      1 large red bell pepper, chopped
      1 onion, chopped
      8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
      6 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms, chopped
      ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
      1 teaspoon dried oregano
      ½ cup dry red wine
      1 can (28-ounce) organic chopped tomatoes, with juice (or 1 box/ 26 ounces BPA-free Pomi brand chopped tomatoes)
      ½ cup parsley, coarsely chopped

      Spread 1 tablespoon of the oil evenly on the surface of a large heavy skillet (such as cast-iron), and heat over medium-high. When oil is very hot, add the tempeh squares and fry, turning once, until nicely browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Remove tempeh from pan and set aside on paper towels.

      Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the same “dirty” pan used to cook the tempeh. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic; sauté over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and oregano. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

      Add the tomatoes. Return the tempeh pieces to the pan and turn them to coat with sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Season with additional salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Remove skillet from heat. Sprinkle with parsley. Let tempeh sit 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm.

  2. Jill says

    I made this last night and it was so delicious. It also looked beautiful the abundant veggies. Thanks for this site, and for such a great recipe!

  3. says

    Can you believe I’ve never in my life had this? Your recipe looks GREAT! I’m going to have to add it to my list of must tries.

    Thank you for all of the time you so willingly give to us!
    Gratefully,
    Christy :)

    • says

      you are so sweet Christy—thank you =) and thank you also for all the time you spent calming me down the other day on the phone. i can’t thank you enough for your friendship. and, i can’t wait until your cookbook comes out!!!

      xoxo,
      ivy

      P.S. I had never had chicken cacciatore either– I didn’t even know exactly what it was!!

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