This Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is delicious, healthy, and easy to make. Loads of vegetables, chicken thighs, and herbs are combined to make this traditional rustic Italian dish! The perfect comfort food for a busy weeknight!
I recently made this Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore for my book club meeting. We make a schedule once per year and pick the month that we would like to host the meeting. I chose February for this year because during the 16 years that I have been in my book club I have never hosted in February. I wanted to set a Valentine’s tablescape with some adorable Valentine’s dessert plates I purchased on clearance at Pier 1 a few years ago.
My Tablescape Dilemma
For the most part, I do seasonal tablescapes for our meetings, not scapes based on the theme of the book. Mostly because I wait until two days before the meeting to read the book. So yes, I pick the month to host based on how I want to set my table. I know, I have a serious problem.:)
Unfortunately, I had too many things going on before Valentine’s Day and had to set the meeting date for the end of February. Too late for a Valentine’s scape. So much for planning a year in advance.
After several days of going back and forth on how I was going to set my table and what I was going to choose for the menu, I decided I would do an Italian themed tablescape. I have some cute Italian plates and centerpiece items that I love and rarely use.
Once I decided on my scape, Italian cuisine was a must for the menu. I knew I had to work the afternoon of the meeting so my recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore was perfect for the main course. It is easy to make and a delicious classic Italian dish.
The book we chose for this month’s meeting was Sally Field’s memoir, “In Pieces”. The night before my book club meeting I watched the Oscars. When the winner for best actress was being announced Sally Field and the Academy Awards that she won for her roles in Norma Rae and Places in the Heart were fresh in my mind. Out of nowhere, an idea hit me like a ton of bricks… A Hollywood/Oscar-themed tablescape.
I really can’t believe I didn’t think of this idea sooner. I had all of the props from a previous tablescape that I created for the Oscars several years ago. Since I had spent the afternoon setting my Italian scape I couldn’t decide if I should change everything.
At 6:00 am the next morning I was up taking the Italian scape apart and putting my Hollywood/Oscar tablescape together. YES, I am a crazy person! Here are a few pics of how it turned out.
I had already purchased all of the food for my Italian meal the day before. The menu which included chicken cacciatore served over couscous and an arugula salad with a lemon vinaigrette dressing was not changing. Besides I really had a taste for the chicken cacciatore!
Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. In cuisine, it refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and herbs. Typically chicken cacciatore is made by browning and then braising chicken in a savory tomato sauce with vegetables and herbs. I use mushrooms, carrots, yellow and red peppers, onions, fresh oregano, and fresh basil. It’s pretty versatile so you can customize to your liking.
A few months ago I decided to try making it in my slow cooker instead of braising it on the stove. I still browned the meat but that only took a few minutes. Then, I put everything except the olives and mushrooms in the slow cooker and cooked it on low all day.
I added the olives and mushrooms 30 minutes before serving. It came out amazing! Such a delicious flavorful meal and the aroma in the house was amazing! Perfect for a weeknight meal or your next book club meeting. 🙂
Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
- 8 bone-in skin on chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 medium red pepper, sliced into strips
- 1 medium yellow pepper, sliced into strips
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 3 sliced medium carrots, sliced
- 2 cups baby Bella mushrooms, sliced or mushrooms of choice
- 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 6 oz can of tomato paste
- 3/4 cup dry red wine
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
- 1 tsp fresh oregano
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped basil
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- freshly grated Parmesan for garnish
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley for topping
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the chicken in a single layer and sear on each side for 3-4 minutes.
Transfer chicken to the slow cooker and cover with crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Add remaining ingredients except for mushrooms and olives. Season with salt and pepper and lightly stir.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. 30 minutes before serving add olives and mushrooms to the slow cooker.
Remove bay leaves and transfer to large serving bowl. Garnish with grated parmesan and fresh parsley. Serve over whole wheat couscous, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, or spaghetti squash.
I recommend searing the chicken before adding it to the slow cooker, but if you are short on time it will still be delish without searing.
I have added olives and mushrooms at the beginning. I like the texture of the mushrooms better when they are added at the end. I really prefer to add the olives right before serving, but my husband prefers them to be added in the beginning, so I compromise and add them in with the mushrooms.
We recommend using organic ingredients whenever possible.
Do you enjoy preparing tablescapes and dinner menus as much as I do? Or are you saying, “This chick is crazy?” You can be honest. I know I’m out there! 😉