Chicken Cacciatore is the American for the Italian recipe ‘Pollo alla Cacciatora’. Alla Cacciatora translates into “Hunter’s Style.” Game (such as pheasant, hare, and boar) can have a very strong taste, therefore the meat is often marinated at length in vinegar, wine, and spices. Marinades can tenderize and also enhance or disguise game flavor. More recently, the expansion of the human population has tremendously reduced wildlife, and restrictive legislation has made hunting difficult, thus game for cooking is in very limited supply.
Yet, the way to cook game in everyday cuisine has translated into some of the most tasteful recipes. Pollo alla Cacciatora is a good example. Chicken Cacciatore is a very popular dish in the United States. The same recipes can be used to cook duck, rabbit, or lamb. In Italy, there are several similar recipes to this dish using wine instead of vinegar, and sometimes with the addition of tomatoes. This is my family recipe as my father taught me.
1/3 cup (80 cc) white wine vinegar
1/3 cup (80 cc) white dry wine
2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
2 whole garlic cloves, smashed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 lb (900 g) chicken, cut up in pieces
Salt and pepper (or crushed red pepper)
1 tablespoon flour
3 – 4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
Put the vinegar, wine, rosemary leaves, and garlic in a small bowl.
Put the extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet and turn the heat to medium. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and sauté until lightly browned. Add salt and pepper.
Stir in the flour.
Add the vinegar-wine mix, turn the heat to high and let the liquid evaporate.
Turn the heat to medium low, cover, and cook for about 30 - 35 minutes or until the chicken becomes tender. Stir occasionally to prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan.
In case there is too much liquid when the meat is almost ready, remove the lid and let the liquid evaporate until the sauce is thicker.
When the chicken is ready, add the anchovies to the skillet, stirring vigorously for a few seconds until dissolved. Serve hot.