I love Italian cuisine, and I love braised meat.
In this rustic dish, these two loves come together and create magic! It’s also one of my favorite slow carb recipes. It’s easy to make and you don’t have to be a chef to put this tasty chicken cacciatore together.
To quickly explain the agreeable-sounding name of this dish: “cacciatore” means “hunter” in Italian. “Alla cacciatora” is a whole category of dishes prepared “hunter-style” which usually involves tomatoes, onion, herbs, often bell-pepper and wine. In the North of Italy they like to cook these dishes with white wine, whereas the South of Italy generally prefers red wine.
If you cook this slow carb recipe, I recommend to use red wine as this stays true to what we’re allowed to use/eat (although I have to say white wine gives this nice fresh citrus touch to the dish).
15 min preparation, 60 min total
For four servings, you will need:
- 4 chicken thighs
- 100 grams of bacon or pancetta
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- chickpea flour, for dredging
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped (optional)
- 1 big or 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ glass dry red or white wine
- 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 can of cannellini or white beans
- 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- fresh rosemary, oregano or thyme to your taste
For this recipe I use four skinless chicken thighs (some recommend to leave the skin on, it depends on your taste). You can use drumsticks or a whole cut up chicken, basically use your favorite parts for braised dishes.
For anyone who prefers chicken breast, you can of course use this meat as well but braising it for an hour would make it quite dry whereas chicken thighs not only have more taste to them but also will remain juicy. You could add the breast meat towards the end of the cooking but that’s not the purpose of slowly braising meat.
Also, the hunter-style dishes are usually served with rustic bread or pasta which tastes great. But in this slow carb version I use cannellini beans to stay true to the Italian roots of the recipe. You can of course use any type of white beans you fancy or get hold of.
Start by heating a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Dust your chicken parts in flour (to stay true to slow carb use chickpea flour), salt and pepper. Sear the chicken for about three to four minutes in the oil and take the meat out. Fry the bacon or pancetta for a couple of minutes.
Most fat will be removed and the remaining fat will be used for the onions and vegetables.
Half your onion from root to tip and slice it relatively thickly. We don’t have to be too accurate here as our dish will braise for about an hour and we want that everything holds up.
Do the same with your red bell pepper and a large clove of garlic. Fry the onion, bell pepper and other vegetables (you can add a chopped carrot for extra sweetness) for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic, a (preferably) fresh bay leaf, some rosemary or thyme and oregano to your taste. If you don’t have fresh herbs, don’t worry. Just use dry herbs, but they will not give the exact same taste.
Pour in about half a glass of dry red wine, and add your chicken to the pan again. Now, add a can of tomatoes, your chicken broth and put the lid on your pan.
Lower the temperature to a simmer, and give your chicken cacciatore about an hour on low heat. About 10 minutes before the dish is ready to be served, add a can of cannellini or white beans.