Chicken Cacciatore with Easy Creamy Polenta #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on November 4, 2012

Chicken Cacciatore with Easy Creamy Polenta

This is one of those recipes that’s a cinch to throw together, yet admittedly, I don’t make this as often as I should. Chicken Cacciatore’s rich aroma and flavors are borne in its simplicity. Some may remember Pollo alla Cacciatora as a relic from the 1950s’ Italian-American food scene–just add drippy candles and a bottle of chianti wrapped in a straw basket, and you’re all set. But it’s still a staple in Italian homes and probably considered a timeless classic.

This week for #SundaySupper we’re featuring dishes that keep you warm, and to me, nothing fits the bill better than Chicken Cacciatore. While the ingredients vary from region to region, our Ligurian family braises the chicken in a blend of tomatoes, white wine, a little fresh rosemary, and adds pitted black olives at the end. I was hoping that my trusty Oxford Companion to Food would have some details about the history of this dish, but alas, no such luck. The interwebs offers little except to point out that “cacciatore” is Italian for “hunter,” and it may have at one time been a dish made on the trail by hunters. That would have been with rabbit and no tomatoes. Some say it’s really “alla cacciatora” meaning “hunter’s wife’s” stew, perhaps prepared to feed hungry men on their return from the hunt. There’s even some suggestion that it’s related to the French dish “coq au vin” — but regardless of its origins, it’s a dish worthy of adding to your regular dinner rotation.

In our family, we serve it over a warm bed of creamy polenta, so as a bonus, I’m including that recipe here as well. It’s so easy, it hardly seems to be a recipe at all–just a few ingredients stirred into a dish, then baked until golden and bubbly. To Italians here in Northern California, Teleme cheese is the proper cheese to blend in–this is a semi-soft cheese native to this area, created by Serafino Iacono in Tomales Bay. It’s mild and buttery in flavor and is hard to resist on its own.  There are a number of suitable substitutes, but it’s most similar to brie, maybe not as heavy. I think you’ll find it’s a fine side to serve with many other stew type recipes, and this baked version means you won’t be spending hours stirring over a hot stove.

Shall we begin?

cacciatore ingredients

First, let’s start organizing the cacciatore ingredients.

chopped onions

Chop the onions and garlic, then sauté in a large pan with the olive oil.

chicken in pan

Salt and pepper the chicken, and once the onions are translucent, add the chicken to the pan and brown for about 4 minutes on each side. Don’t squish it all together like I did.

chicken cacciatore
Add the remaining ingredients (except for the olives), give it a stir, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

polenta ingredients

While the chicken is simmering, gather up the polenta ingredients.

polenta

Add all the ingredients (except the cheese) to an oven-proof dish, give it a good stir, put a lid on it, and bake for 45 minutes.

creamy polenta

Cut up the cheese into cubes, then at the 45 minute mark, remove the polenta from the oven, stir in the cheese until melted–then put back in the oven uncovered for another 15 minutes.

chicken cacciatore

Meanwhile, stir the olives into the cacciatore, and let simmer for a few more minutes until the olives are heated through.

Easy Creamy Polenta

This polenta is great when topped with sausage, stews, and especially good with chicken cacciatore.

Easy Creamy Polenta

So serve yourself a generous helping.

Chicken Cacciatore with Easy Creamy Polenta

Then top with an equally generous portion of chicken cacciatore. Be sure to get some of that juice in there too–that’s the best part. You may need a crusty loaf of bread to help you sop that up!

5.0 from 2 reviews

Chicken Cacciatore (Hunter’s Style Stew)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This aromatic chicken dish, braised in white wine, tomatoes and a little rosemary, is easy to prepare and is perfect when nestled on a bed of creamy polenta.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 lbs chicken pieces
  • ¾ cup white wine (I use Rossi Chablis)
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 1 28-oz. can peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes, chopped, with juice reserved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 15-oz can pitted black olives, drained
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, and sauté until onions are translucent.
  2. Salt and pepper the chicken. Pushing the onions to the sides, add the chicken and brown for about 4 minutes on each side.
  3. To the chicken, add the wine, broth, and tomatoes with the reserved juice along with the bay leaf, rosemary, and parsley (reserving 1 tbsp. or so for garnish), stir.
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove cover, stir in olives, and simmer uncovered for a few additional minutes, until the olives are heated through.
  6. Garnish with reserved parsley, and serve over easy creamy polenta.

 

5.0 from 2 reviews

Easy Creamy Polenta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This easy creamy polenta is a snap to make, and the buttery Teleme cheese inside makes it irresistible.
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup polenta
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ lb Teleme cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large, covered baking dish, mix together broth, polenta, and salt. Cover, and bake for 45 minutes.
  3. After 45 minutes, remove polenta from the oven.
  4. Cut cheese into cubes and stir into polenta until completely melted.
  5. Return polenta to oven for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered, until slightly browned and bubbly.

 

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula @ Vintage Kitchen November 4, 2012 at 2:36 am

I grew up on dishes like this one, but I´ve never seen polenta made this way. So easy! It all looks so good!
Paula @ Vintage Kitchen recently posted..Lentil and Chorizo Stew #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Anne Papina November 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I’ve never seen polenta made this way either–this is how my mom makes it, and I quite like it!

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Hezzi-D November 4, 2012 at 4:15 am

Chicken Cacciatore is an old favorite of mine. I like that you put it over top of polenta. I’ve only made polenta a handful of times but I love the flavor and texture-can’t wait to try your version!
Hezzi-D recently posted..Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Susan November 4, 2012 at 4:44 am

My mom used to make this often as a child, but I never do for myself anymore. This is a reminder that I should! Thanks for joining us this week!
Susan recently posted..Carbonnade Flamande #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Laura Hunter November 4, 2012 at 5:07 am

I have several recipes that are so simple to put together and yet some how I seem to forget to make them. Chicken cacciatore is also one of them, why is it sometimes we almost seem to forget about these easy and delicious meals? But this dish does remind me how good it can be so I will try to remember to make it soon.
Laura Hunter recently posted..Lentil and Bacon Soup #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Lane @ Supper for a Steal November 4, 2012 at 5:21 am

Oh my gosh sounds delicious! Can you just pass me a bowl through the internet.
Lane @ Supper for a Steal recently posted..30 Minute Black Bean Soup for #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Renee November 4, 2012 at 5:23 am

Yep, I’m ready to serve myself a big helping of this right now. Do you deliver?
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Megan November 4, 2012 at 6:51 am

I’ve never cooked polenta before. Tba is for sharing! I’m going to give it a try.

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Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen November 4, 2012 at 7:14 am

Looks and sounds wonderful!! Thank you so much for sharing this on Sunday Supper!
Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen recently posted..Chicken with Herbed Dumplings for Soul Warming #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Tara Noland November 4, 2012 at 7:38 am

Stunning, I have never seen Chicken Cacciatore look so good. Lovely photos!!
Tara Noland recently posted..Seafood Chowder for Soul Warming at #Sunday SupperMy Profile

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Jen @JuanitasCocina November 4, 2012 at 8:11 am

Gorgeous! I’ve never had chicken cacciatore, but once I saw this, I know I’ve been denying myself for too long!
Jen @JuanitasCocina recently posted..Canadian Beer Cheese Soup ~ Soul Warming #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Chris Baccus November 4, 2012 at 9:12 am

Love new uses for polenta. Thanks

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Bea November 4, 2012 at 9:23 am

Wow – another fantastic chicken recipe :) I will also have to add this one to my fall-winter list – but will serve it with my standard polenta recipe.

Thank you so much for sharing!
Bea recently posted..Chicken & Mushroom Stew on Egg Noodles for #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Sheila November 4, 2012 at 9:49 am

This looks lovely. Thanks for sharing. I will have to try it soon!
Sheila recently posted..#SundaySupper: Spanish Garlic SoupMy Profile

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Lyn @LovelyPantry November 4, 2012 at 10:39 am

Polenta is so versatile and pairs well with so many things. This recipe is so flavourful and looks great! Thank you for sharing with us!
Lyn @LovelyPantry recently posted..Black Bean Soup With Hot Roast Pepper Cream for #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Tammi @ Momma's Meals November 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm

What a great looking dinner this is! Warmed my soup right up.
Tammi @ Momma’s Meals recently posted..NaBloPoMo is here! Need some inspiration?My Profile

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veronica gantley November 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I make a very similar dish to this every year and I just love it. So simple and incredibly delicious
veronica gantley recently posted..Easy Chicken and Dumplings for #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Nancy @ gottagetbaked November 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I just ate but your photos are making my stomach rumble in hunger. I can almost taste that luscious tomato and white wine braise for this chicken dish. I’ve never had polenta (I know, how is that possible?!) and your recipe looks so simple and lovely that I ought to try it out.
Nancy @ gottagetbaked recently posted..Chicken Pot Pie for a Soul Warming #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts November 4, 2012 at 7:59 pm

This looks so comforting. I love polenta, and this sounds delicious served over it!

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Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom) November 4, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Two favorite dishes in one post. Gotta love it.

Also appreciate your bit of history and on the dish. Does the Oxford Companion cover Asian cuisines?
Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom) recently posted..Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup (Jjamppong) #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Anne Papina November 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I’m at my mom’s right now, so I don’t have the book itself in front of me–however, I am certain that it does cover Asian cuisines in a broad sense. The book itself is huge, so I’m always surprised when every once in a while I can’t find something in it! Anyway, I’ll double check when I get home. Oxford recently published a food companion dedicated to Italian food, so it’s possible at some point they’ll do new books based on other cuisines as well.

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Heather @girlichef November 5, 2012 at 3:24 am

Oh my gosh, I want to snatch that plate right out of the screen – it looks fantastic! And oh, so comforting and soul-warming.
Heather @girlichef recently posted..Roasted Acorn Squash w/ Parmesan, Garlic, & Thyme {12 Weeks of Winter Squash}My Profile

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Sarah November 5, 2012 at 5:42 am

I want that polenta!!!! And the cacciatore, but the POLENTA! Only thing I’d do with the cacciatore is swap out olives (ick) for mushrooms :-D
Sarah recently posted.."Rule of Thirds" Soup for a Warming #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Soni November 5, 2012 at 6:59 am

I love the Cacciatore Polenta combo! Looks like the perfect meal to be enjoyed by the fireplace on a cold night :) Lovely!
Soni recently posted..Easy Wonton Soup #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Sarah November 5, 2012 at 7:09 am

I love your introduction and history behind the dish. I wish I was an eloquent writer like you. Love the step by step instructions and the addition of olives. This dish is a favorite of mine too. I was thinking of making it last night but didn’t have tomatoes so now I’ll have to go to the grocery store and forgot what I went there for in the first place. lol
Sarah recently posted..Spicy Korean Brisket Soup {Yukgaejang} #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Anne Papina November 5, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Thanks so much! You crack me up (or maybe I’m starting to crack myself up)–so locally, there’s only one store I can count on to always have the Teleme cheese. For this post, I shopped there for just these ingredients. I’ll let you guess the one item I forgot to get on that excursion! :)

(and if you guessed the cheese, you would be correct!)

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Jennie @themessybakerblog November 5, 2012 at 9:15 am

Anything on top a bed of creamy polenta screams warmth and comfort. This dish looks amazing.

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The Wimpy Vegetarian November 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I’m all over the polenta!! I love the stuff, and am so happy that it’s the time of year I make it more often. The addition of the Teleme is genius!
The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..#SundaySupper: Tuscan Bean Soup with Rosemary OilMy Profile

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Anne Papina November 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Teleme is one of my favorite cheeses!

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Alaiyo Kiasi November 6, 2012 at 9:30 am

What a beautiful dish! I love that it’s paired with polenta.

Alaiyo
Alaiyo Kiasi recently posted..Gumbo Z’Herbes for #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Faye Leong November 7, 2012 at 3:47 am

Awesome! I like everything in this dish and the wonderful step by step pictures!
Faye Leong recently posted..Spicy Udon Noodle Soup – Recipes to Keep You Warm #SundaySupperMy Profile

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Cindys Recipes November 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Great idea, Anne! I never thought to use polenta as a base, sounds delicious!
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Maika Frederic November 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Double yes…I’m so into comfort food right now and this is up there on my list :)

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