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 campfire 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.
Why you should try this recipe
Traditionally, 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: cremini, oyster and shiitake. I also added olives because we all love olives and I had a good pound in the refrigerator.
This is a fabulous meal to enjoy at home or while out camping. And for camp food, hello, it beats the horrible meals we used to make before I took over the camp menu.
Whether you are making this in your home kitchen or out in the woods, the meal comes together quickly and cooks up easily in just one pot.
Ingredients you need
- Chicken thighs: I used bone-in chicken thighs. If you are using boneless, the cooking time is less. You can also add in some chicken legs or bone-in chicken breasts.
- Onion: You can use brown, yellow or white onions.
- Bell pepper: I prefer using assorted colors like red, orange and yellow bell peppers. You can also use green peppers, but their flavor is not as sweet.
- Garlic: I use both fresh garlic and garlic powder.
- Fresh herbs: Fresh herbs give so much more flavor than dried. I use parsley and basil.
- Red wine: Choose a dry red wine.
- Mushrooms: You can use only one type or mushroom, like white mushrooms, or an assorted variety like cremini, oyster and shiitake.
- Kalamata olives: Remove the pits if you don’t want anyone accidentally biting hard on these and crack a tooth!
- Seasonings: Dried basil, garlic powder, kosher salt and black pepper
- Pantry staples: All purpose flour, extra virgin olive oil and canned diced tomatoes.
1. In a chimney, light 30 briquettes. 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.
2. Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
3. In a gallon-size resealable bag combine flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and 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.
4. Place the briquettes under a 10-inch Dutch oven and bring to high heat. You know you have it nice and hot when you hear the chicken sizzle. Add 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.
5. Add the mushrooms, onion and bell pepper to the hot oil and sauté until vegetables soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, dried basil and fresh parsley. Cook for 2 minutes.
I scooted coals away from underneath the Dutch oven to reduce the heat when it got too hot. Long handled tongs really helped with the adding and removing of coals during the cooking process.
6. Return the chicken to the pot, stir in the diced tomatoes and red wine. Reduce the heat to medium heat and continue cooking for 20 minutes, or until juices in chicken thighs run clear. When ready to serve, garnish with olives and fresh basil.
Recipe tips and FAQs
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.
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!
When I make this Dutch oven chicken cacciatore for a cub scout camp meal, I do not add wine to this dish. But traditionally, chicken cacciatore uses 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.
You can easily serve this dish alone or with your favorite pasta. If you want pasta, I prefer noodles like spaghetti, fettuccine and linguine. You could also serve it with a crusty bread, polenta or rice. For a low carb option, use zucchini noodles.
- 3 lbs bone-in chicken thighs, approximately 8 pieces
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon dried basil
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 lb assorted mushrooms, halved
- ½ cup kalamata olives
- ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- In a chimney, light 30 briquettes.
- Season both sides of the chicken thighs with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper.
- In a gallon-size resealable bag combine flour, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon 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 mushrooms, 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 20 minutes, or until juices in chicken thighs run clear.
- Garnish with olives and fresh basil, and serve with a green salad, pasta, or a crunchy baguette.
Serving Size:1 chicken thigh
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 522Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 218mgSodium: 1007mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 43g
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