Hunter’s chicken

Hunter’s chicken

Pollo alla cacciatora

The Amalfi Coast
Helen Cathcart

Do be fussy in your choice of olives; the flavour is so much better if you buy them with stones in and remove them just before cooking. Good-quality black kalamata or taggiasche are best for this dish. To remove the stones, squash them with the blade of a knife and the stones will pop out. As this dish is really based on whatever the hunter’s catch of the day is, it works equally well with rabbit or guinea fowl.


Quantity Ingredient
1 free-range chicken, jointed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
‘00’ or plain flour, to coat the chicken
sunflower oil, to brown the chicken
2 sprigs rosemary
3 garlic cloves
2 slices unsmoked bacon and pancetta
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into large bite-size pieces
175ml white wine
2 tablespoons tomato puree
400g canned plum tomatoes
100g good-quality black olives, stoned
400ml water
1 tablespoon roughly chopped parsley
fresh crusty bread, to serve


  1. Season the pieces of chicken with salt and black pepper. Coat in flour and tap off the excess. A quick way of doing this is to put the flour in a plastic food bag with the chicken pieces and shake the bag, making sure the meat is evenly coated. Heat the sunflower oil in a pan and brown the chicken very well all over. Remove the chicken from the pan and pour away the oil.
  2. Finely chop the rosemary, garlic and bacon or pancetta together. Heat the olive oil in the pan and fry the rosemary, garlic and bacon for just 1 minute, taking care not to burn the mixture, before adding the peppers and potatoes. Cook for 2 minutes and then return the chicken pieces to the pan. When hot, pour in the wine and allow it to evaporate for 2 minutes before adding the tomato purée, tomatoes, olives and cold water.
  3. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Partially cover the chicken and cook for about 1 hour, or until the meat falls off the bones. Stir in the parsley and serve with hunks of bread to mop up the juices and a green salad.
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