Chicken cacciatore with tomato and bell pepper—just one of many possibilities. [Photograph: Vicky Wasik]
Chicken cacciatore may be an Italian classic, but that doesn’t mean there’s a set way to make it right. Here, we braise chicken legs in white wine with red bell pepper, onion, and tomato; if that’s not your cup of tea, we have a chicken cacciatore with mushrooms recipe, too. In both cases, the quick-cooking dish is done just about an hour—even though it’ll taste like it’s been cooking all day.
Why It Works
- Chicken legs remain tender and juicy even with prolonged cooking, unlike lean breast meat.
- Eliminating the flour dredging that some recipes call for allows the bright, fruity flavor of the bell pepper and tomatoes to shine through.
What’s New On Serious Eats
- 3 to 4 pounds (1.4 to 1.8kg) bone-in, skin-on chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks split
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium (8-ounce; 225g) yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large (8-ounce; 225g) red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
- 5 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup (175ml) dry white wine
- 1 (28-ounce; 795g) can peeled whole tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand, plus 1/2 cup (120ml) reserved juices from can
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, sage, or thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Minced flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Season chicken all over with salt and pepper.
In a Dutch oven or large straight-sided sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches, add chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a platter as it finishes cooking and set aside.
Add onion, pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until softened, about 8 minutes.
Add wine and bring to a simmer. Add tomatoes and reserved juices, along with herb sprigs and bay leaf. Return to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Nestle chicken and any accumulated juices into liquid and vegetables.
Transfer to oven and cook, uncovered, until chicken is fully cooked through and tender and sauce is slightly reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes. Discard herb sprigs and bay leaf. Serve right away, garnishing with minced parsley if desired.
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