Hunter's chicken traces its roots to Northern Italy, where it's called chicken cacciatore. In France, it's called chicken chasseur. Whatever you call it, Hunter's chicken is a great dish for a dinner party in chilly or rainy seasons, when chicken cooked in a rich tomato-y sauce is warms the soul. This satisfying Hunter's chicken recipe differs from many in its use of breast meat rather than a whole chicken or meaty thighs. It is simple to make, and the rich sauce makes it perfect to serve over rice or noodles.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 chicken breasts (bone-in)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 3/4 pound mushrooms (sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2/3 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes (drained)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
In a large, deep frying pan, heat the oil at medium-high heat.
Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper and place in the hot pan.
Cook and turn until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and reserve.
Pour off all but a tablespoon of the oil from the pan. Add butter to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Raise heat back to medium-high and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are browned, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and flour and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the white wine and bring back to a simmer.
Add the broth, tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, and remaining pepper and salt.
Add the reserved chicken and any juices. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the chicken is done, 30 to 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165 F.
Note: If you don't have a deep frying pan, brown everything in a regular frying pan and transfer to a kettle for the final simmering.
If you have chosen to serve Hunter's chicken over noodles or rice, you've covered the need for carbs. This hearty meal needs a fresh green salad to balance the richness of the chicken and sauce. Use your favorite greens but use a dressing of Italian leanings to harmonize with the strong flavoring of the saucy chicken. Serve a loaf of fresh, soft Italian or crusty French bread on the side.
A Word About Wine
A cardinal rule of wine pairings is to match like with like—bold, rich flavors need big-flavored wines, and delicate flavors need soft and subtle wines. Another long-held rule is that chicken should be served with white wine. That's often the case, but there's significant support for the idea that the best wine to pair with chicken has more to do with the sauce or how it's cooked. Then there's a third view: If you cook a dish with wine, serve it with the same wine. So for Hunter's chicken, you have the choice of the white you cooked with or a medium-bodied red that matches Hunter's chicken in heartiness. That would be Chianti Classico, Multipluciano, Syrah or Merlot.