Chicken Catch Me aka Chicken Cacciatore

When I was a kid, my mom had a regular rotation of weeknight dinner meals. You know what I’m talking about– those 10 or 12 dishes that are fast, tasty, and reliable. Most of us grew up with some form of meal rotation. It’s part of what gets you through the week– those reliable standard dinners that everybody in the family enjoys. My mom’s meal rotation made an indelible mark on the fabric of my childhood. The smell of these dishes meant home, comfort, family… Tuna Casserole, Turkey Tacos, Cornish Game Hens with Artichokes… and of course, there was Chicken Cacciatore, the meal that tickled my funny bone.

Chicken Cacciatore is an Italian dish, pronounced Chicken Catch-Ah-Tori. When I was little, I used to hear the word as “Catch A Tori.” My name is Tori, so I found this wildly amusing. As my mom would stir the simmering tomato sauce with aromatic Italian herbs, I was fond of announcing:

“It’s not Chicken Catch-Ah-Tori, it’s Chicken-Catch-Me!”

My mom got the recipe as part of a creative gift at her bridal shower. Her girlfriend gave her a box filled with placemats, wine glasses, plates, and a recipe for Chicken Cacciatore. It was a cute gift that proved very useful. Mom cooked the recipe many times for our family over the years. She liked serving it over egg noodles best. When combined with egg noodles or rice, Chicken Cacciatore is complete meal. It’s tasty, healthy, and couldn’t be easier.

Mom makes this dish with boneless skinless chicken thighs, which are healthy and provide more flavor than breast meat. I’ve also made it with bone-in skin-on thighs, which I simmer for 20-30 minutes longer– when I do this, I usually end up adding a bit of chicken broth or water to the sauce to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Using bone in, skin on meat makes the chicken very tender and flavorful, but it does up the fat content of the dish. Use what works best for your diet. If you want to cook this without alcohol, you can substitute chicken broth for the red wine. Also, you can easily make the dish gluten free by using a GF flour substitute instead of flour for the chicken coating. I actually cooked this for a GF friend a few days ago, so these pictures were taken using King Arthur Gluten Free Flour. The only difference I noticed was that the chicken didn’t brown quite as deeply as it does with flour. Otherwise, the recipe works exactly the same. If you’re making it GF, I recommend pouring it over brown rice or some other gluten free starch. Yummy!

Now that I’m a wife and stepmom, I have my own regular rotation of weekday meals… Roast Chicken, Moroccan Fish, Vegetable Stew, Matzo Ball Soup… and of course, Chicken Catch Me. Thanks for the inspiration, Mom!

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Chicken Catch Me (aka Chicken Cacciatore)


  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup flour (for gluten free use GF flour substitute)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cans (14 oz) diced Italian tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 small can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped oregano (or 1 tbsp dried)
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tbsp dried)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups cooked wide egg noodles or cooked rice (for gluten free use rice or your favorite certified GF pasta)
  • Fresh chopped basil for garnish (optional)

You will also need

  • medium mixing bowl, large saute pan, skillet
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour
Servings: 6
Kosher Key: Meat
  • Place the chicken thighs on a plate. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together flour, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper.
  • Dredge the chicken thighs in the seasoned flour till thoroughly coated. Reserve.
  • In a large saute pan combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, sugar, oregano, and basil. Stir. Turn the heat to medium low and let the sauce slowly warm.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium. Place the breaded chicken thighs into the skillet and fry them for a few minutes on each side till they turn golden brown. Don't cook them all the way through, just brown them.
  • Place the browned chicken thighs into the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and let the thighs simmer on medium low in the sauce.
  • Meanwhile, pour another tablespoon of olive oil into the skillet. Pour the chopped onion and bell pepper into the skillet. Saute them for 8-10 minutes till softened.
  • Stir the sauteed onion and pepper into the tomato sauce.
  • In the skillet, sear the sliced mushrooms on medium high for 5-6 minutes till they start to brown.
  • Stir the seared mushrooms into the sauce.
  • Let the chicken and vegetables simmer together for another 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, till the chicken cooks through and the sauce thickens. If the sauce seems to be drying out or gets overly thick, stir in some hot water to thin it out a bit. At the end of cooking, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot chicken and sauce over cooked wide egg noodles or rice. Garnish with a little fresh chopped basil, if desired.

Comments (20)Post a Comment

  1. Tori you may be interested to know Chicken Cacciatore is “Hunters Chicken” in Italian so your not far off the mark with “Catch me” bit lol!

  2. Hi Tori! I love any meal that is enveloped in a hearty sauce, cant wait to make this! how well does this meal freeze? Also, would you say the chicken is substitutable for a beef or veal for those that dont eat chicken? Thank you!

    1. Hey Josie! I’ve never frozen this, but I’m guessing it would freeze well. I haven’t tried it with any other meats– if you do, please let me know how it turns out!

  3. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Hi Tori,
    I love your story. It’s especially wonderful for me to read because my mom (may she rest in peace) was not a cook at all (she was a single mom and broiling was her skill after working in an office all day). But the one dish she did make on special occasions was Chicken Cacciatore, very similar to yours. So reading your story made me think of my mom, too.

  4. I can’t wait to try this, but my family won’t eat dark meat or meat with bones in it. Any idea what the adjusted cooking time in the pot would be for boneless chicken breasts?

    1. No worries Marnie, it will work well with chicken breasts too. I would suggest cutting the boneless skinless breast meat into chunks so it cooks more evenly– this will also help counteract the dryness of the breast meat by dispersing the sauce more evenly with the meat. After the initial frying, the breast chunks will only need to simmer for 10-15 more minutes in the sauce till they’re cooked through… you don’t want to overcook them, or they’ll dry out. I’d add the veggies to the sauce (mushrooms, bell peppers) before reintroducing the chicken breast meat. After adding the meat back to the simmering sauce, let it cook for 10-15 minutes more, then cut into one of the thickest chunks to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. Good luck, let me know how it turns out for you! :)

  5. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi Tori….Chicken Catch Me was a hit! I used yellow pepper and equivalent sized pieces of white meat chicken along with some dark to satisfy everyone in our family. The sauce was delicious and even better the second night. I love when a recipe makes enough for 2 meals. Thank you for another wonderful post!

  6. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    My family loved this recipe! Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe which will now be a staple for my family. Loved the story and love your blog.

    1. Tomato sauce is sold in cans here in the U.S. It’s a simple cooked and thickened puree of skinless cooked tomatoes, sometimes mixed with a few basic seasonings. It may be sold under another name in Israel, I’m not sure. Hope that helps!

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