This Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore, which simmers for six hours in a rich red sauce, practically prepares itself and couldn't be more delicious.
Chicken Cacciatore is a classic Italian dish, made easy in the crockpot, is a winner every time. The chicken slow cooks in a sauce made with tomatoes, onion, pepper, mushrooms, and plenty of garlic. Serve it over pasta, Creamy Spinach Polenta, or Ricotta Spaghetti Squash.
This morning I woke up thinking about this blog. That pretty much happens every day. Although blogging isn’t my full time job, it’s something I love, and I can’t wait to wake up and see if anyone visited the site, liked a recipe, left a comment, or sent me an email. See, comments for bloggers are like fuel -- we love them. For me, they make me feel connected to you. They make it feel like we’re friends and I am not just typing into a machine. They bring a smile to my face since I know it takes time to share your thoughts. And I truly appreciate it whenever you take that time, I know it’s precious.
And this morning -- wow! Who knew the thought of a slow cooker could get people so excited? Y’all spoke out loud and clear that Sunday Slow Cooker Meals were something you could get excited about, maybe because everybody’s time is so valuable. I’m glad because I’m excited about them too. I love a meal that lets me enjoy the day but still tastes like Sunday dinner should. And I am going to try my best to post Sunday Slow Cooker Suppers on Saturdays so folks have a chance to get what they need for the next day’s dish. So here goes the first installment -- the best chicken cacciatore recipe in my repertoire. Tell me what ya think.
What Is Chicken Cacciatore?
According to SAVEUR Magazine, chicken cacciatore is a stew prepared “hunter’s wife style.” (Cacciatore is an Italian word that translates to “hunter” in English.) The dish, which traces its roots to northern Italy is, at its most basic, chicken braised in tomatoes, wine, or both. But it has numerous regional variations that might include different herbs or vegetables. So if you ask a few folks how to make chicken cacciatore, you’re likely to get different answers. Some use white wine. Some use red. Others opt for chicken stock. With this easy chicken cacciatore recipe, any of the three will result in a delicious dish. You can also get creative with the other ingredients, using your family’s favorite veggies or stirring in any fresh herbs you have on hand, for instance, because the best chicken cacciatore recipe is one that fits your family.
What Makes Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore Healthy?
This chicken cacciatore crock pot recipe’s rich, red cacciatore sauce is packed with flavor and nutrients. For instance, garlic is loaded with vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese. Studies have shown garlic can shore up your immune system, boost bone density, and help protect heart health by lowering blood pressure and LDL, or “bad cholesterol,” levels.
And onions, close cousins to garlic, provide many of the same benefits. Onions also help your body boost its absorption of lycopene, an antioxidant in tomatoes that could protect against cancer and heart disease while it supports brain, bone, and eye health. So it’s probably not a culinary coincidence that onions and tomatoes taste so good together.
Mushrooms are also packed with antioxidants and may help combat cancer. And, like some of the other ingredients in this chicken cacciatore crock pot recipe, studies have shown they can increase immune function, decrease blood pressure, and cut LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels in your blood.
How Do You Serve Chicken Cacciatore?
I like to serve this dish over spaghetti squash, brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice. And a recently saw a recipe that suggested serving it over baked polenta cakes, which I will have to try. And if you’re wondering how to make chicken cacciatore a decadent dinner, you can pour yourself and your partner a glass of wine and serve the stew over pasta, top it with some freshly grated parmesan, and put out a loaf of warm, crusty bread to sop up all the savory cacciatore sauce. A sprinkling of briny capers or olives really sets off the flavors in the dish for me, but if you have finicky family members, you might want to serve these optional additions on the side.
Can I Freeze Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore?
In my opinion, this easy chicken cacciatore tastes even better the next day -- after its flavors intensify. It also freezes well for tasty weeknight meals. If you pull a portion out in the morning and let it thaw in the fridge during the day, it should be a snap to reheat. And, even if all the veggies and chicken are gone, don’t toss the leftover sauce. You can use it in any way you’d use another red sauce or stir it into soups and stews with complementary ingredients.
Fresh or frozen, this slow cooker chicken cacciatore will be full of flavor any way you choose to enjoy it.
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Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
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- 3 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 U large white onion, thinly sliced
- 2 U celery stalks with leaves, chopped
- 6 oz can tomato paste
- 14 oz canned diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 lb mushrooms, sliced
- 1 U green pepper, chopped
- 1 U red bell pepper, chopped
- 6 U garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup red wine (or white wine or chicken broth)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except the onions, celery, and chicken.
- Layer the onions and celery to the bottom of the slow cooker. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and layer on top of the onions and celery.
- Pour the sauce over the top of the chicken and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over pasta, spaghetti squash, cauliflower rice, brown rice, or quinoa. Tastes even better the next day and freezes well.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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