Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pollo Alla Cacciatora

Cooking My Way Through Jamie Oliver's Food Writings

                        Hunter's Chicken Stew

Pollo Alla Cacciatora; sort of like the Italian version of roast beef, only with chicken.  While simple to make, this traditional hunter's stew is wonderful for serving large family dinners or get togethers with friends.  The use of Chianti in this dish provides incredibly tender meat, while the rosemary and olives add robust, hearty flavors.  Served simply with sauteed greens and crusty bread this dish is the epitome of classic Italian comfort food.

one 3 to 4 pound whole chicken. organic, free-range preferable, cut into pieces
eight bay leaves, dried or fresh
two rosemary sprigs
three cloves of garlic, 1 crushed, 2 sliced
1/2 bottle of Chianti
flour, for dusting
extra-virgin olive oil
six anchovy fillets
a handful of green and/or black olives, pitted
two 15 ounce cans of good-quality plum tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and put them into a bowl.  Add rosemary sprigs, bay leaves, crushed garlic and cover with wine.  Allow to marinate, refrigerated at least 1 hour but, over night is preferred.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove chicken pieces from marinade and pat dry reserving the marinade, dust with flour, shaking off any excess.  In an oven proof pan, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil, once heated add chicken pieces and brown.  Even if your pan will hold all of the pieces, it is best to do this in batches to avoid steaming the chicken.  Once browned, remove from pan and set aside.  Gently fry the sliced garlic, once it starts to turn brown add the anchovies and olives, when the anchovies begin to dissolve add the tomatoes and break up with a wooden spoon and bring to a simmer.  Stir in reserved marinade, return chicken pieces, bring to a boil, cover and bake in the oven for an hour and a half.

You will know the chicken is fully cooked when it pulls away from the bone without effort, remove from the sauce and allow to rest for 15 minutes.  While the chicken is resting, bring sauce to a boil and allow to reduce slightly.  Remove bay leaves and rosemary stems, season with salt and pepper to taste, pour over chicken pieces and serve.


  1. This is one of my fave JO recipes from my fave JO book. We do it all the time. Yum!