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Boneless Chicken Cacciatore

This boneless chicken cacciatore gives you a new and comforting way to enjoy pasta with tender chicken thighs, fresh herbs, red wine, and hearty mushrooms.

Boneless Chicken Cacciatore

Close up of ingredients in saucepan with fresh herbs.
We finally had a full-blown gloomy, rainy day this past weekend. I know it probably sounds absurd to be pining for chilly and miserable weather, but here I am. This past summer was just way too much of a sunny scorcher. I’m ready to hunker down and get cozy for the rest of the year.

Of course with gloomy weather comes comforting meals, like smokey sweet potato soup! Or this saucy boneless chicken cacciatore :)

At the beginning of the year, I mentioned wanting to turn to more cookbooks for inspiration—less Websites. For this recipe, I blew the dust off of the mother of all cookbooks: The Joy of Cooking. This relic has been in circulation since 1936 and it shows. Most of these recipes start off with butchering your own meat. Just reading it reminded me of simpler times, the way my grandmother used to cook. These days, it’s rare that any of us are buying an entire chicken to break down. So I simplified (modernized?) this recipe to be present-day friendly.

Boneless Chicken Cacciatore.

In some recipes, bone-in chicken is preferred because it brings a richer flavor. So if you’re making something that needs that something extra, like a chicken broth, you’d of course want bone-in. But here, between the tomatoes and the fresh herbs, you don’t have to rely on bones bringing flavor. I used boneless chicken thighs and the result received a lot of praise. If you prefer to go the bone-in route, go for it! Just note that the cooking time will be different.

The original recipe in The Joy of Cooking uses dry white wine. I opted for red wine, since I love using it in stews, and it worked nicely! Plus, I pictured this meal better accompanied by a glass of red rather than white, so it all tied together in the end. Rich and cozy goodness! Especially the leftovers. Some kind of magic happens when you let this stuff hang out in the fridge together overnight.

Chicken cacciatore can be served over pasta, grains, potatoes, or spiralized veggies. And if you like this recipe and enjoy salmon, I highly recommend giving this easy poached salmon recipe a whirl!

Plate of spaghetti topped with saucy chicken cacciatore.

If you try this recipe or create your own variation, let me know in the comments! I love connecting with you. Then snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme to be featured in our newsletter.

Boneless chicken cacciatore close up in pan.
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5 from 7 votes

Boneless Chicken Cacciatore

This boneless chicken cacciatore gives you a new and comforting way to enjoy pasta with tender chicken thighs, fresh herbs, and hearty mushrooms.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Comfort Food, Italian
Keyword Chicken, comfort food, easy, Italian, weeknight dinner
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Dana Sandonato

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs skinless and boneless chicken thighs
  • A few pinches of kosher salt and cracked black pepper, for the chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup All Purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed and sliced
  • 8 oz red pearl onions, peeled and halved *See notes
  • 1 cup sliced baby bella or cremini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP freshly chopped oregano, plus some extra sprigs for simmering
  • 1 TBSP freshly chopped thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine, like Merlot
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup kalamata olives
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions

  • Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels, then season with a few pinches of salt and pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet or braiser over medium-high heat. One by one, dredge the chicken thighs in flour, shaking off any excess flour, and place in the heated skillet. Simmer the chicken until the exterior is just browned on both sides. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside on a plate.
  • Add the garlic, pearl onions, and mushrooms to the skillet. If you need a bit more oil, add it now. Simmer, scraping up pan bits and drippings from the chicken, stirring them in with everything else. (This will add a lot of extra flavor.) Simmer for until garlic is fragrant—about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and herbs, and stir to coat the veggies. At this point, slowly pour the wine into the skillet along with the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, and olives. Add salt and pepper, bay leaves, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Bring the heat to low, transfer the chicken to the skillet nestling it into the sauce, and cover the skillet. Let the chicken simmer in the sauce for about 20 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and the chicken has an internal temperature of 165º F.
  • Serve over pasta, grains, or spiralized veggies.

Notes

The most efficient way to prepare pearl onions is to place them in a pot of boiling water, boil them for 30 seconds, then remove to cool. Once cooled, cut off the tips and squeeze them out of their skin. This is much easier and quicker than peeling each one.
You can also substitute red pearl onions with two large shallots, thinly sliced (preferably using the mandolin).

7 Comments

  • Debra
    October 22, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    5 stars
    I still use my tattered copy of Joy of Cooking that my Aunt bought me when I first expressed an interest in cooking….somehow I had never tried this one though. I like what you did subbing the red wine….and I think my family will like that too. Adding it to the menu list for Thanksgiving Weekend when the kids are here.

    Reply
  • Trish Bozeman
    October 21, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    5 stars
    I remember reading my mother’s copy of Joy of Cooking when I was a kid! Dana, this is fabulous and perfect for those gloomy (but we love them) fall days. Pass a glass of RED wine and we are in comfort food heaven.

    Reply
  • Lisa
    October 21, 2019 at 9:03 am

    5 stars
    I have a copy of the Joy of Cooking as well as my grandmother’s set of Julia Child’s “Mastering The Art of French Cooking” and I love perusing through them, but like you, I like to streamline some of the steps. So smart to use chicken thighs in this hearty dish — and I’m in your camp on the red wine — a hearty dish like this one benefits from the bold tannins in a good red. I just want to swoop a chunk of bread through that rich sauce.

    Reply
  • Jenni LeBaron
    October 21, 2019 at 1:08 am

    5 stars
    What a gorgeous and savory dinner dish! I love the comforting flavors in this and the fact that it’s a 1-pan meal makes it easy for busy weeknights. Can’t wait to gobble this one up!

    Reply
  • […] boneless chicken cacciatore looks soo good and perfect for a weeknight […]

    Reply
  • Tina
    October 17, 2019 at 10:22 am

    5 stars
    I LOVE old cookbooks Dana. The instructions and often times the ingredients can be down right entertaining. Often times I update old international cookbooks, it’s my favorite way to discover incredible recipes other than traveling to the country itself! The colors in this dish are amazing, saving this for later. It looks too good NOT to eat. Thanks for updating this classic.

    Reply
  • Gloria
    October 17, 2019 at 7:52 am

    5 stars
    OMG I do not even know the last time I made this. Now you have me wanting it this weekend. Such a classic. So delicious. Makes you feel like you are in a nonna’s kitchen in Italy. I think I just might enjoy a glass of wine and a book while this cooks on Sunday afternoon.

    Reply

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