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Pollo alla cacciatora (Hunter’s Chicken Stew)

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Pollo alla cacciatora, is an Italian dish, which translates and hunter’s chicken.  I don’t know if game, such as rabbit was originally involved and later on chicken was used to deserve its original name or if whether it is just hunter’s style chicken, the way the hunter cooked his chicken or whether when the hunter came back home from hunting, his wife had cooked a chicken stew dish for him.

When google searching for recipes I read all the above scenarios and there were various versions of this recipe, some using olives, others bacon, others beans, others shrimps, others white wine, others red wine, with tomato and without tomato.

Some of them reminded me of Coq au Vin, others a Chicken Bourguignon or Greek Kotopoulo Kokkinisto (stew) or Kotopoulo Krassato (chicken with wine).  As each one was different and did not know which one would be quite traditional, so I decided to make it my way, using the ingredients I preferred.

Chicken cacciatora with tubular pasta

I made this recipe a few weeks ago in Assini using free range chicken.  You can see in the picture above that the meat was darker and it took more time to cook.

I made it over and over again, either making it with mashed potatoes or tubular pasta, which is quite traditional to be served with Greek stews.

If you have never made this dish, you should try it as the recipe is very easy to prepare and the dish is delicious with a very flavourful sauce.

Pollo alla cacciatora (Hunter’s Chicken Stew), recipe by Ivy

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Cooking time:  1 hour 10 minutes

Serves:  6 – 8


  • 1 chicken about 2.200 grams, skin and bones on
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 carrots, sliced
  • 4  – 5 stalks celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups red dry wine
  • 400 grams tomato juice
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • A pinch of thyme
  • 1 tsp Greek spice mixture
  • 2 – 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped



  1. Clean, wash and cut the chicken into pieces, leaving the skin on, which gives flavour to the dish.
  2. Drain chicken and then dredge in flour.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and sauté just until browned, about 5 minutes per side.  Sauté in 2 – 3 batches.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a pot and set aside.
  5. Add the onion and sauté for 1 – 2 minutes and then add the garlic and sauté until both are translucent, about total 5 minutes.   Add the carrots, celery, rosemary, bay leaves, salt, pepper and spices and mixed for 1 – 2 minutes. Pour the mixture over the chicken and add the wine.  Cook for a few minutes until the alcohol evaporates.
  6. Add tomato juice and tomato paste dissolved in 1 cup of water.
  7. Bring the sauce to a boil and lower heat.  Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked through, for about 1 hour, depending on the chicken.  (Free range chickens need more time to cook).
  8. Remove the chicken to the platter again and if carrot and celery are not soft, continue simmering until soft (you may need to add some more water, about ½ cup) and the sauce thickens.
  9. Put the chicken back in the pot, add the parsley and simmer for about 3 more minutes.

Serve with rice pilaf, mashed potatoes or pasta.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Sunday 3rd of February 2013

I love this dish and want to try your version. It looks so good and that gravy looks divine! The first time I made Chicken Cacciatora - and I was so proud - my husband took one look at it and said "Oh, you made Poulet Basquaise!" I do think every culture must have their own version of this great dish.


Thursday 11th of October 2012

Yummy recipe! The combination of flavors is fantastic!


Wednesday 10th of October 2012

We at home make chicken like this but then wihtout the greek spices use french herbs, we eat them with mash potato, potato crouquette etc...this looks so good, a real comfort food too


Wednesday 10th of October 2012

A wonderfully tasty and comforting dish! I'd love to sit at your table and enjoy that stew.



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