Chicken Cacciatore & Polenta with a Big Green Salad

Published Categorized as Recipes
Chicken Cacciatore

My Awesome Chicken Cacciatore & Polenta Recipe

For me, anything made with Parmigiano Reggiano is good. And that includes this traditional chicken cacciatore recipe that can be on the table in less than 45 minutes.

Chicken Cacciatore & Polenta with a Big Green Salad

Recipe by Bill AllenCourse: DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




Total time




  • Shopping List

  • 1 medium onion

  • 2 stalks celery

  • 1 shallot

  • 1 large head lettuce

  • 1 bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley

  • 1 bunch rosemary

  • One 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes

  • 4 to 6 chicken thighs

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

  • 1 pkg. instant polenta

  • Pantry Items

  • Bay leaves

  • Black pepper

  • Dijon mustard

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Red pepper flakes

  • Sherry vinegar

  • Sea salt

  • Unsalted butter

  • Equipment

  • Chef’s knife

  • Heavy skillet

  • Large saucepan

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Mixing bowls

  • Paring knife

  • Salad spinner

  • Sheet pan

  • Small saucepan

  • Spatula

  • Strainer

  • Tongs

  • Vegetable peeler

  • Wooden spoons


  • When you walk in the door
  • Don’t refrigerate the chicken
  • Get out Pantry Items
  • Get out Tools
  • Assemble the ingredients
  • Open the wine and pour yourself a glass
  • Prep
  • Fill large saucepan with 6 cups water, 1 bay leaf, and 1-1/2 tsps. salt and put it over high heat
  • Peel and mince the onion.
  • Peel the celery stalks, and thinly slice them.
  • Peel and mince the shallot.
  • Separate the leaves of lettuce, wash, and spin them dry.
  • Tear them into large, bite-sized pieces.
  • Rinse and pat dry the parsley. Pluck 1 cup leaves.
  • Separate 2 sprigs rosemary from the bunch.
  • Cooking
  • Melt 4 tbsps. butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, to add to the cooked polenta. When it’s melted, remove it from the heat.
  • Heat 2 tbsps. oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts on the skin side, season with salt and pepper, and brown them only on their skin side, which will take about 5 minutes. If the chicken is browning too fast, turn down the heat to medium.
  • If the pan is crowded, brown the chicken in two batches.
  • When the chicken is browned, remove it from the pan.
  • Add the onions, the celery, and 1 tsp. red pepper flakes to the pan, stir, and season lightly with salt. Cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Mince the parsley.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes to the onions, stir, then add the minced parsley and the rosemary sprigs and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Put the chicken breasts into the pan with the tomato sauce, along with any juices, pushing it down into the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer – you might have to increase the heat.
  • Make sure the sauce is at a steady simmer, cover the chicken, and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Whisk the polenta into the boiling, salted water in the large saucepan.
  • Keep whisking until the polenta thickens, and turn down the heat if it starts popping out of the pan at you. Cook and whisk the polenta for 5 minutes. Take the polenta off the stove and whisk in the melted butter and the ½ cup Parmigiano. Cover and forget about it for now.
  • Make the vinaigrette for the salad now: Put 1 tbsp. vinegar into a bowl, and whisk in a pinch of salt and 1 tsp. mustard.
  • Whisk in the shallot, then whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil. Taste it for seasoning. Put the lettuce leaves in the bowl, but DON’T TOSS THEM YET!
  • Set the table and check your Facebook and Twitter.
  • Check the chicken – it should be cooked all the way through. If it isn’t, leave it on the heat for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Transfer the polenta to a bowl, remove the bay leaf, and garnish with some herb sprigs.
  • Now you can toss, toss, toss the salad.
  • Remove the rosemary sprigs from the chicken and either serve it in the pan or transfer it to a large, shallow platter, and garnish with herb sprigs.
  • Get some help taking everything to the table. Don’t forget the wine!

What is Chicken Cacciatore?

Chicken cacciatore is a dish that originated in Italy. The word cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian, and this dish was traditionally made with game birds that had been hunted. Nowadays, chicken is the most common protein used in chicken cacciatore.

This dish is typically made with chicken that has been browned and then simmered in a tomato-based sauce. Chicken cacciatore is often served over pasta or rice.


Parmigiano Reggiano, or Parmesan cheese as it is commonly known in the United States, is a hard, granular cheese that is used for grating and shaving. It is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk and has a strong, nutty flavor.

The cheese is named after the Italian region of Parma, where it originated. Parmigiano Reggiano is one of the most popular cheeses in Italy and is used in a variety of dishes, including pasta sauces, salads, and pizza but could also be used on hamburgers or any food for that matter. Cheese makes everything better!

Polenta is a dish made from boiled cornmeal. It can be served either hot or cold, and is often used as a side dish or as an ingredient in other dishes like this chicken cacciatore recipe. Polenta is a traditional food of Italy, and has been eaten there for centuries. It is simple to make, and can be made with just water and cornmeal.

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