Mama Dora’s Chicken Cacciatore

Starting as a child, I learned to cook from many people — quite notably my grandmothers.  Mama Dora (my father’s stepmother) was my source for Italian cuisine.

Her father — Antonio Federicho —  immigrated to the United States in 1878 from a small village near Naples. He brought his much younger wife — Philomena Maglionica — over ten years later. Their 10 children were all born in America.

I vividly remember there always being a pot on my grandmother’s stove, one in which some incredibly delicious meat stewed in a rich, succulent sauce. The recipes were simple, the ingredients few, but the tastes were sublime.

My father’s favorite was chicken cacciatore. I became obsessed with learning how to cook it to perfection.


Here is Mama Dora’s recipe (which I have admittedly refined over the years). The biggest change is that I do not flour the chicken before  frying, I use fresh plum tomatoes (instead of stewed and canned) and I sometimes use exotic mushrooms. On the side, you just have to have some good, crusty Italian bread (like ciabatta) with spiced olive oil for dipping; a crispy green salad and….. a bottle of Chianti.

Chicken Cacciatore


4 tbs olive oil
1 chicken (cut in pieces)
1 onion (chopped)
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
2 cups mushrooms (sliced)
8 plum tomatoes (halved lengthwise)
1 can tomato paste
2 cups water




Salt & pepper, to taste
1 tbs garlic (minced)
1 tbs oregano
3 bay leaves
3/4 cup dry red wine


HEAT olive oil in a large iron skillet.
FRY chicken until browned. Remove and set aside.
ADD onion and bell pepper to the “dirty” oil and SAUTE lightly.
Return chicken to skillet; ADD tomatoes, tomato paste, water and seasonings, including wine.
COVER and SIMMER for about 30 minutes over low heat.
ADD mushrooms. SIMMER for another 10 minutes.
SERVE over pasta – I use fettucini.


1 Comment

  1. chocohelena said,

    30 May 2012 at 7:45 pm

    This dish looks so nice to eat! I will definitely try to cook this too. Thanks for sharing.

    By the way, if you have time, please like this page or take a look at the recipes too:


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