Chicken cacciatore is a satisfying dish that looks like it should be difficult to make, but it really isn't, especially if you make it in a slow cooker. You can load your cooker in few steps, and then all you have to do is turn it on and go about your business. In about five to eight hours, according to how you set the cooker, dinner will be ready and waiting for you.
Slow and Savory Chicken Cacciatore
This recipe serves up to eight people when figuring one thigh per person. If you prefer, you can substitute six to eight boneless chicken breasts for the thighs, figuring one breast for each serving, and follow all the same directions.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 8 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
- 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch wide strips
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch wide strips
- 1/2 large onion, peeled, cut in half, and sliced thin
- About 8 ounces button mushrooms, cut in half
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- Salt and pepper
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Spray the inside of a 5-quart crock with non-stick cooking spray.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken thighs/breasts, dredge them in the flour, and arrange them on the bottom of the crock. The flour will help the sauce thicken a little as it cooks.
- Add the peppers, onion, and mushrooms over the chicken.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the tomatoes, broth, garlic, sugar, oregano, and basil, and stir.
- Pour the tomato mixture evenly over the contents of the slow cooker, and put the lid on top.
- Set the crock pot on low for eight hours, or set it on high for five hours, whichever timing suits your needs best.
- When the time is up, use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is at least 165° F before serving.
Alternative Cooking Method
This method involves browning the chicken in a little olive oil before putting it in the slow cooker, which some cooks believe produces superior flavor.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken, and dredge each piece in flour as directed in the recipe above.
- Coat the bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil, and heat the pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken, and cook it to light golden brown on all sides.
- Spray the inside of the slow cooker with non-stick spray, and arrange the chicken in the bottom.
- Follow steps 3 through 5 in the original recipe above, and then set the slow cooker for four hours on high.
- When the time is up, check the chicken's temperature to make sure it's at least 165° F before serving.
Serve a Fabulous Meal
Chicken cacciatore is delicious on its own, but you can put that wonderful sauce to use by serving it over a bed of your favorite pasta. Round out the menu by adding a leafy green salad with vinaigrette, a loaf of good bread and some garlic butter, as well as a glass of red wine for the adults. If there's room for dessert, serve a simple cheesecake, and you'll have a truly satisfying meal. Don't be surprised if your family asks for it again and again.