https://www.glwd.org/blog/rdn-made-chicken-meals-from-around-world-chicken-cacciatore-pollo-alla-cacciatore/

3.12.21 / Nutrition

RDN-made Chicken Meals from Around World: Chicken Cacciatore (Pollo alla Cacciatore)

This National Nutrition Month, we’ll be featuring chicken meals designed by our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists from around our world to celebrate diversity, inclusion, and the importance of delicious healthy eating. All the meals are low fat (and with heart healthy fats), high in fiber, balanced, nutritious and (most importantly) delicious!

RDN: Ronnie Fortunato, MS, RDN, MBA
Country: Italy
Why This Meal: I chose to use this dish as a healthy option for Italian-American cuisine. Much “Italian” food does not stay faithful to the healthy Mediterranean diet, with excess cheese and fried meats (think chicken parmigiana or other parmigiana dishes), but this one has no cheese, is lightly sautéed, and is full of vegetables. In fact, while I reduced the amount of chicken and oil the original 4-serving dish called for, I kept all the vegetables for the 2-serving one. On a personal note, my Italian grandmother cooked this way – simply and healthfully. I learned to love peppers, onions, mushrooms, and other vegetables at her table. When I started studying nutrition, it amazed me how our ancestors knew how to put healthy dishes together somewhat intuitively, for example, using legumes in place of meat as an inexpensive alternative.
Tips from Ronnie: The caccia in cacciatore means “hunt,” so this is chicken hunter’s-style. I’ve always tried to figure out why this particular dish is called cacciatore or hunters’ style.  The dish calls for minimal processing – everything can be thrown into a pot and cooked all together, although that’s not how it’s cooked today. I imagine hunters spending a day gathering the ingredients, then heating them all in a pot over a fire. My dish called for an extra pot for the pasta. Potatoes would have been a good choice too – they could have been cooked with the vegetables, then simmered with everything else.

Serving size: 2

Ingredients

  • 12 oz chicken (about ¾ lb., preferably free-range) You can either cut up a whole chicken or you can buy pieces, which I did. I used all thighs in this dish
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 2 small yellow onion, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • One 14-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with liquid, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup quartered white or shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 orange and 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch strips

Preparation

  1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  In a wide pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until a piece of chicken dipped in the oil gives off a very lively sizzle.
  2. Add as many pieces of chicken to the pan as will fit without touching. If the skillet is not wide enough to fit all the chicken, brown it in batches. Remove chicken pieces from the skillet as they brown, adding some of the remaining pieces of chicken to take their place.
  3. Add the onion to the oil remaining in the pan, and cook, stirring frequently. Pour the wine into the pan, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and oregano, season lightly with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Tuck the chicken into the sauce, adjust the heat to a gentle boil, and cover the pan.
  5. Cook, stirring a few times, 20 minutes. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and peppers, and toss until the peppers are wilted but still quite crunchy, about 8 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt.
  6. Stir the peppers and mushrooms into the chicken pan. Cook covered until the chicken and vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Check the level of the liquid as the chicken cooks.
  7. There should be enough liquid barely to cover the chicken. If necessary, add small amounts of water to maintain the level of liquid as the chicken cooks.