Saturday, December 8, 2012

Zuppa di Pollo alla Cacciatora (Chicken Cacciatore Soup)

To download a copy of the recipe for Zuppa di Pollo alla Cacciatora (Chicken Cacciatore Soup), click HERE.

One of my favorite approaches to creating new recipes is to break a standard dish down into its basic parts, and then re-imagine how those parts could be combined. In recent weeks we’ve gotten to present dishes like Zuppa alla Pizziola (“Pizza Soup”) and Chicken Piccata Ravioli in this way. This week, we’re transforming a classic chicken cacciatore into Zuppa di Pollo alla Cacciatora (literally, Chicken Cacciatore Soup).

Pollo alla Cacciatora, the proper Italian name for chicken cacciatore, translates literally into “chicken, hunter style.” The chicken is braised in onions, mushrooms, peppers, wine, and other things one might associate with a hearty meal prepared by a hunter returning with his game. In fact, the only part of Chicken Cacciatore that doesn’t seem to fit the hunting picture is the chicken, but there’s a likely explanation for that. The earliest “alla cacciatora” meat was not chicken at all, but rabbit. For the general population, of course, chickens are a lot easier to find than rabbits, are a lot cheaper to buy, and, let’s be honest, aren’t nearly as cute. Those three elements combine into an undocumented but pretty plausible explanation of how, when it comes to cacciatore, chickens ended up taking the fall for rabbits.

In the photo above, the soup is shown with easy to make herbed beer batter breadsticks. You’ll find the recipe at Herbed BeerBreadsticks/Rolls. 

This recipe makes about 6 large servings.                  

The first step is to brown our chicken.

Dry 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds of chicken cutlets with paper towels. Brush both sides with olive oil.

Season both sides with salt, pepper and dried thyme.

In a pan or heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat, add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides. (If necessary, work in batches or, to save time, cook the chicken in two pans at the same time, which is what I did in the photos.)

While the chicken is browning, prepare 4 minced garlic cloves, 1 diced green bell pepper, 1 diced red bell pepper, and 1 diced medium onion.

Transfer the chicken to a dish, cover with foil and set aside.

Next, we’ll prepare the soup, which is similar to a traditional cacciatore sauce except that, for soup purposes, it is reinforced with a little more tomato. (Nut much more, though; we want chicken cacciatore’s signature taste, not simply a tomato soup with chicken and vegetables.)

Reduce the heat under the soup pot to medium. Putting in a little more oil only if necessary, warm the garlic till aromatic (about 30 seconds) and add the green pepper, red pepper, and onion. Cover the pot and let cook till the vegetables are a little soft, about five minutes.

Uncover the pot and add 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are cooked through, scraping the browned chicken bits from the pan into the mixture..

Add 1-1/2 cups of dry white wine (Chardonnay or similar) and continue to cook uncovered until reduced by half.

Add two 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (including juice); 1 cup of tomato juice; 1-1/2 cups of low fat, low sodium chicken broth; ½ Tbsp dried rosemary; ½ Tbsp dried basil; 1 bay leaf, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Cover and increase the heat till boiling, then reduce the heat to a simmer. With the cover on, let the mixture cook for about another 10 minutes.

While the liquid is cooking, put the browned chicken into ½” pieces.

Add the chicken to the liquid mixture, cover, and simmer till cooked through, about another 20 minutes.

Garnish with grated parmesan and serve hot with fresh bread and a salad!

To download a copy of the recipe for Zuppa di Pollo alla Cacciatora (Chicken Cacciatore Soup), click HERE.
And there you have it: fresh, delicious soup that’s a little familiar, a little unusual, and easy to make!

Visit again next week for another easy, flavorful recipe. Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)


  1. This is right up my alley! Yum. I'll have to try it in the near future.

  2. Another good soup... pinning to Pinterest. Nice job and so easy!

  3. Thanks, Sandy. I hope you will. We enjoyed it very much over here!

  4. Thank you, Kim. I was just in the mood for soup. :-) And thanks for the pin as well!