Spicy Chicken Cacciatore is a healthy diversion worthy of an easy weekday meal! According to Cook’s Illustrated, cacciatore means hunter-style in Italian. Back in the day, fresh-killed game would be sauteed with mushrooms, onions and other vegetables found readily available then braised in a liquid of wine or stock. To make this a little healthier, I used chicken tenderloins to reduce the fatty content rather than a whole chicken. (I don’t use mushrooms either if the boys are eating since they detest anything associated with them.) The taunting aroma draws them out from the depths of their individual lairs to gather around my simmering prey.
I sauté chicken tenderloins in olive oil after they have been patted dry and coated lightly with sea salt and pepper. (Julia Child suggests browning is achieved better when meat is dried prior to cooking.) Remove them to a dish to hold until vegetables have simmered. In these pictures, I am showing 1-1/2 pounds of tenderloins being used since there are two teen-aged boys living in the house. The additional chicken extends the number of portions this creates. No, really, I just want to ensure that I have leftovers to take to work!
Place the veggies in the same skillet in which you cooked the chicken and simmer for 10 minutes.
Return the chicken to the skillet with vegetables and simmer for an additional 7 minutes.
Shred chicken using two forks.
Serves: 6-8 servings
- 1 pound of chicken tenderloins
- Olive oil
- 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 c. sliced Bella mushrooms, washed and dried, optional
- 6 garlic cloves, pressed ( or 1 T. minced garlic from jar)
- 1 T. capers
- 2 T. fresh basil, chiffonaded ( or 2 t. dried basil)
- ½ t. dried red pepper flakes
- 1- 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
- 2 bell peppers, red and orange, sliced thin
- Season the tenderloins lightly with salt and pepper.
- Put about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a preheated skillet.
- Brown chicken over medium heat, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- If you are using fresh basil, place it on the side. If using dried, it may be added to the skillet with the remaining ingredients. Simmer for about 8-9 minutes.
- Return chicken to skillet and blend with mixture over and simmer for an additional 7 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through.
- Twist fork into chicken to shred the meat apart, if desired as it is being simmered.
- Serve alone as a complete satisfying meal, or with pasta.
- More chicken may be added to stretch the meal further.
- It's great as leftovers to take to work! Your coworkers will be jealous when they smell its aroma!