Chicken cacciatore is one of the ultimate Italian comfort foods. This classic pasta dish is chock full of flavors, being served traditionally with onion, peppers, herbs, chicken, and even wine on occasion. This recipe makes a 100 percent paleo-approved version of chicken cacciatore that’s enhanced by the addition of pancetta and anchovy fillets along with the chicken thighs as well. No need to add more salt as the ingredients are already good sources of natural sodium. All of the other ingredients are Italian pasta staples, giving this cacciatore the great tasting flavors of Italy that you will go crazy for.
The Secret Is Really in the Sauce
It’s been said many times before that a great recipe is largely dependent on its ‘secret sauce’. That saying rings true with this chicken cacciatore. You can’t just cook chicken with tomato sauce. The right combination of ingredients will make a huge difference, especially for paleo dieters.
It’s a good thing then that this recipe hits all of the right notes when it comes to the sauce. It starts with cooking pancetta together with onion. This alone injects so much flavor into the onion, which will come out later on as the tomato sauce is stewed, not to mention the protein content. Pancetta is actually loaded with fats, including monounsaturated fats, saturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. It’s the perfect ingredient to help you with your daily fat intake.
Next up is the garlic and anchovy fillets, bolstering an already flavorful sauce base even further. Everybody knows how strong of a taste garlic can add to any dish, but it also works wonders for your immune system and overall health and wellbeing as well. (1) Meanwhile, the anchovy fillets end up dissolving into the sauce, adding a slightly salty flavor that mixes perfectly with the onion and garlic combo.
Mushrooms, drained capers, kalamata olives, chopped basil leaves, and of course, paleo approved tomato basil sauce make up the final sampling of key ingredients used for this sauce that really drives home that comforting Italian style taste. As you cook the chicken and pancetta in this sauce, their natural juicy flavors are released into it as well while it thickens on the stove. Once you’re done cooking the cacciatore, sprinkle it with some added basil leaves and serve immediately for an incredibly mouthwatering dinner meal.
Don’t Forget the Garlic Bread!
What’s chicken cacciatore without some delicious garlic bread? This version is 100 percent grain-free, so you can indulge without any guilt. It’s made with almond flour and sesame seed flour among other wholesome ingredients.
Chicken cacciatore is one of those great Italian meals that is completely satisfying in every way. Featuring an amazingly good homemade sauce, mouthwateringly juicy chicken, and enhanced even more by the yummy pancetta, this dish will definitely hit the spot. And if you’re not afraid of mixing it up a little bit, consider replacing the chicken with rabbit; it’s another manner in which cacciatore is traditionally cooked and it’s every bit as juicy and good in this sauce.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 chicken thighs
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 anchovy fillets, chopped
- 7 oz button mushrooms, trimmed and cleaned
- 4 pancetta slices, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup homemade chicken stock or water
- 2 cups paleo approved tomato basil sauce
- 1 cup kalamata olives
- 2 tbsp drained capers
- 2 tbsp basil leaves, chopped
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
- Add the chicken and cook 2-3 minutes per side or until golden. Transfer to a plate.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron pot over medium heat.
- Add onion and pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and anchovy and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until anchovy dissolves.
- Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chicken to the pot.
- Add the chicken stock or water and bring to the boil.
- Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Cook, covered, turning occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens slightly.
- Add the olives, capers and half of basil and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
- Sprinkle with remaining basil and serve.
PS. Looking for more great Italian inspired meals that fit the bill of being utterly satisfying and paleo-friendly? Here’s a few of my other personal favorites when I’m looking to make a nice hearty comfort food for dinner:
Want more Paleo recipes? Take a look at the Paleo Grubs Book. With 470+ easy-to-prepare Paleo recipes in 17 comprehensive categories it is the only Paleo book you will ever need.
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