Have you not gotten over all of the delicious holiday dishes you’ve been eating lately, and wish there was more? Or have you decided to eat healthier this year and are having trouble finding recipes that both taste good and are good for you? Either way, it looks like a day has come around that you will positively love—it’s National Chicken Cacciatore Day!
Learn about National Chicken Cacciatore Day
For most families, chicken is the meat that they consume most frequently throughout the week. There are so many tasty and delicious meals that can be prepared with this meat, and Chicken Cacciatore is one of them. It can be cooked in one pot, which is always a massive bonus when you are cooking a meal for the entire family. It is filled with delicious flavors and vegetables as well, so it tends to be down as a big hit. If you have never tried this dish before, National Chicken Cacciatore Day is your perfect opportunity to do so. If you have, use this date to perfect your recipe and enjoy this tasty meal once more with those you love.
If you’re wondering how to pronounce this dish, we’re going to assume you know how to say the word “chicken.” Cacciatore is pronounced cah-cha-toe-ray. It is a traditional dish, and we are going to tell you more about the history behind it in the next section. This date is not just about cooking one of the tastiest family meals, it is also about paying honor to the heritage of the meal.
We certainly think that taking a moment of reflection to think about the food we eat and where it has come from is important. We are so lucky to have so many amazing dishes and recipes to enjoy today, but they all had to start somewhere and this is something that we should recognize and celebrate.
History of National Chicken Cacciatore Day
It’s probably best to start off by saying what cacciatore actually means, which will help shed some light on the dish’s origins. Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian, and it is hunters who first ate this dish. In fact, it is thought that the first Chicken Cacciatore was not made with chicken at all, but with rabbit or other wild game sometime during the Renaissance period, so between the 14th and 16th centuries.
Chicken Cacciatore’s simple but delicious recipe was likely developed to satisfy the appetites of hunters who may have been on the track of a larger animal or herd of animals for several days, and who needed a tasty, filling stew that could easily be cooked outdoors to keep them going. The spices used, such as parsley and oregano, would have also been readily available to humble hunters.
An interesting fact is that contrary to popular belief, Chicken Cacciatore did not originally contain tomatoes or tomato sauce, as tomatoes were brought to Italy from the New World later than it would have been made for the first time. When making this dish with chicken, it is more traditional to use the dark meat, not the white meat, as it contains more fat and therefore helps make a thicker, tastier sauce when cooked than lean chicken breast would.
How to Celebrate National Chicken Cacciatore Day
In short—learn to make your own Chicken Cacciatore! The dish is relatively quick and easy to make, quite nutritious, and the recipe can easily be multiplied to serve more if needed.
Here is a simple but delicious recipe:
Ingredients: (serves 2)
- 1-1/2 pounds of chicken thighs, with the bone in and skin on
- some salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, washed, seeded, and sliced thinly
- 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Marsala or other red or white wine
- 1-1/2 cups peeled and chopped, firm ripe tomatoes, with their juices
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano (or 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped)
Start by seasoning the chicken pieces on all sides with the salt. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Place the chicken pieces skin side down in the pan and brown, which should take about 5 minutes, and then turn over and lightly brown the other side. Take the chicken out of the pan and set aside. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat out of the frying pan, and then add the sliced onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Increase the heat to medium high.
Cook until the onions are translucent, and the mushrooms have become limp. This should take about 10 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and cook a minute or so longer. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, and then add the tomatoes. Stir in all of the spices as well as about a teaspoon of salt to taste. Simmer everything uncovered for another 5 minutes or so, and then put the chicken pieces on top of the tomatoes and onions, skin side up.
Lower the heat and cover the frying pan with its lid slightly ajar so some of the steam can get out. Proceed to cook the chicken on a low simmer, turning it from time to time. Cook everything until the thighs are tender, which should take about 30 to 40 minutes. Serve over pasta to soak up the juices.
This is the recipe for a traditional Chicken Cacciatore. If you have never attempted to cook this meal before, we would certainly recommend giving it a try. Why not invite some of your family members around so that you can all indulge in the meal together? After all, there is nothing better than enjoying some good food with the people that you love the most, is there?
If you have cooked Chicken Cacciatore plenty of times, why not use this day as an opportunity to spice things up and experiment with the traditional recipe? There are so many unique takes of recipes online, so we are sure you will be able to find something a little bit different from the norm that excites your taste buds. If you are confident in the kitchen, though, why not create your own dish rather than replicating someone else’s?
You can play around with different flavors and ingredients until you come up with the perfect combination for you. This does not have to replace the classic Chicken Cacciatore in your household, but it is always fun to try something new and experiment, isn’t it? If you are proud of your creation, make sure you show off your hard work on social media so that everyone can see how much of an accomplished chef you are! We’re all allowed to show off a bit from time-to-time!