This is a quick and easy way to make chicken cacciatore, a classic Italian staple. There may be a bit of prep work before simmering the crock pot for about 10 minutes, but if you’re really in a bind, just toss everything in and you’re good to go.
1 T olive oil + 2 T, divided
2 lb – Chicken* (thighs, boned or boneless, or breasts)
1 tbsp – salt
1/2 tsp – Pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar + 1/2 tsp
1 can mashed tomatoes (28 oz)
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 t Italian spice*
1. Coat the inside of a slow cooker with nonstick spray. Prepare your chicken by sprinkling a healthy coat of salt and pepper on each side.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned chicken to the pan in one layer. Sear each side for a few minutes and have a nice brown color. Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.
3. Reduce the heat of the pan and add the remaining oil. Sauté onion and garlic in oil. Once cooked, add 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and cook for a minute. Remove and place in the slow cooker, pouring over the chicken with the pan juices.
4. Garnish the chicken with tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms and spices. Cook low and slow in Dutch oven.
Minimal Timing – Chicken Breasts; high 2-3 hrs or low 4-5 hrs, chicken thighs; high 3–4 hrs or low 5–6 hrs, bone-in chicken thighs IN; high 4-5 or low 6-8 hours
5. Once the chicken is cooked, set the slow cooker to high, remove the chicken and remove the lid. Let the sauce thicken. Once this process is complete, add the remaining balsamic vinegar and stir.
6. While your sauce is thickening, you can cook your pasta according to package directions. You can also use quinoa, polenta, rice or other grains or side dishes of your choice. In addition, you can choose to leave your chicken whole, slice it, or shred it.
7. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese.
1. You can use different chicken parts to prepare this dish. Chicken breast works, but chicken thighs taste great and go really well with the sauce. Check the cooking time in the directions above depending on what type of meat you choose. Boneless chicken thighs are the easiest.
2. Easily make your own Italian seasoning using 2 tbsp basil and oregano, 1 tbsp rosemary, and 1/2 tbsp thyme and marjoram.
3. Use ziti noodles for the most Athenian, but any type of noodle works well. A great idea is to lightly spray your pasta with a spritz of cooking spray once it’s done. This keeps it from sticking together as it cools and is super helpful for spaghetti and angel hair dishes.
4. If you wish, you can avoid browning the chicken and cooking the onions and garlic in the pan. It still tastes delicious if you don’t, but by searing the meat and cooking the onion and garlic, it helps deepen the flavor of the dish. Enjoy!