Dutch Oven Chicken Cacciatore is a very healthy and easy meal to make, full of mushrooms, bell peppers and kalamata olives. It makes a hearty camping meal or an easy weeknight dinner. Find more of my cast iron Dutch oven recipes.
As you know, we go camping A LOT. My boys are in Cub Scouts and my husband is the pack’s Cub Master. At this age, the boys go camping with their families so we get a nice large crowd during our monthly campouts. And big campouts means big meals!
I prepared this Dutch Oven Chicken Cacciatore on one particular cub scout campout. We were visiting the desert in Anza Borrego and I volunteered to prepare the main meal for our pack – all prepared with Dutch ovens. You can read about THAT adventure here.
What is Chicken Cacciatore?
This classic Italian dish is prepared “hunter-style,” with whatever game or rabbit caught that day. I caught chicken thighs on sale, so I used them for this stew. Plus, thighs being a dark meat, they were preferred to stewing than chicken breasts.
Traditionally, mushrooms found while hunting were also added to dish, along with tomatoes, bell peppers, herbs and sometimes wine. There are many variations of this dish, so I decided to make it the way I personally liked it: with a lot of basil and a whole lot of mushrooms.
Instead of white mushrooms, I used a variety of mushrooms I found on my hunt at the grocery store: crimini, oyster and shiitake. I also added olives because we all love olives and I had a good pound in the refrigerator.
What wine goes with chicken cacciatore?
Because I was making this Dutch oven chicken cacciatore for a cub scout camp meal, I did not add wine to this dish. But traditionally, wine is added to the stew for additional flavor. Most recipes for chicken cacciatore ask for red wine.
I personally prefer chianti, yes, nothing fancy for this girl. You can use any of your favorite red wines like Merlot or Pinot. And of course, you do not have to add wine, especially if you don’t drink alcohol.
What is traditionally served with chicken cacciatore?
As this dish is an Italian dish, the first side dish that comes to mind to serve with it is pasta! I made a pot of spaghetti for the boys to enjoy with my Dutch Oven Chicken Cacciatore. You can use any type of pasta, but I like to use long noodles like spaghetti, fettuccine and linguine.
You can also serve chicken cacciatore with other starch favorites like a crusty bread, polenta, rice or even potatoes. There really isn’t a wrong way to serve this dish. For a low carb option, you can also use zucchini noodles, too.
How to make Dutch oven Chicken Cacciatore
This is a very aromatic dish. You can make it easily at home or in your Dutch oven on a camping trip. The technique to cook this stew outdoors in a Dutch oven requires you to control the heat by adding and removing coals from underneath your Dutch oven, just as you would adjust the heat on your stove using knobs.
Unlike baking, where I am very exact with the number of coals you put under and over the Dutch oven, I am not so exact with the coal count with general cooking. I used my senses to tell me if the heat was right or not.
I had enough coals for high heat as the chicken sizzled when I browned it and the stew bubbled away and steam rolled over it. I scooted coals away from underneath the Dutch oven to reduce the heat and bring it down to a simmer. Long handled tongs really helped with the adding and removing of coals during the cooking process.
Luckily, the camp we stayed in had grill stands so I could stand as I cook, just like I do at home in my kitchen. You can easily cook in a campfire ring, as well. A low camp stool will make the cooking more comfortable.
And of course, as I cooked my feast for my scouting family, I had to stop and take photos, too. My friend, David, was busy taking pictures of me as I was busy cooking and photographing my food!
Whether you make this at home or outdoors, this chicken cacciatore is crazy good. Top the meal with fresh basil and you have an amazing feast.
A modified version of this Dutch Oven Chicken Cacciatore recipe is also featured in my new cookbook, The Camp & Cabin Cookbook (Countryman Press 2018). I have 100 recipes that are all prepared outdoors and over fire using multiple techniques, including the beloved Dutch oven. Learn more about my camp cookbook!
- 3 lbs bone-in chicken thighs, approximately 8 pieces
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 lb assorted mushrooms, halved
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- In a chimney, light 30 briquettes.
- Season both sides of the chicken thighs with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.
- In a gallon-size resealable bag combine flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp dried basil.
- Place the chicken pieces, one piece at a time, into the resealable bag and coat each piece with flour mixture until thoroughly covered. Shake off excess flour and reserve pieces on a plate.
- Place the briquettes under a 10-inch Dutch oven and bring to high heat.
- Add 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and brown the chicken pieces in hot oil for 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a serving dish and cover with foil.
- Add the chopped onion and bell pepper to the hot oil and sauté until vegetables soften, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon dried basil, and fresh parsley, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Return the chicken to the pot, stir in the diced tomatoes and red wine. Reduce the heat to medium heat and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the mushrooms and continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
- Garnish with olives and fresh basil, and serve with a green salad, pasta, or a crunchy baguette.
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Serving Size:1 chicken thigh
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 522 Total Fat: 31g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 22g Cholesterol: 218mg Sodium: 1007mg Carbohydrates: 19g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 7g Protein: 43g