the other day, i stumbled across a recipe for chicken cacciatore. my mom used to make it for dinner regularly when i was growing up, + even though I hadn’t eaten it in years, i remembered loving the rich, veggie-packed, tomato-based sauce, served with tender chicken + lots of pasta. so, i decided to introduce my husband to it (he’d never tried it before) + make a version of my own at home.
chicken cacciatore is traditionally made by slow-simmering or braising, either on the stovetop or in the oven, but after reading through some recipe ideas, i realized it would be a great meal to adapt for the slow-cooker. y’all know i can’t resist a good slow-cooker recipe! so, i combined a couple different recipes, got out my crock-pot, + got cookin’! and the result? juicy, tender pieces of chicken, rich, flavorful peppers + onions in a tangy, well-seasoned marinara-based sauce. serve it with one of my all-time favorite foods, pasta, + i’m pretty much in comfort food heaven. if you’re a slow-cooker lover like i am, you have to try this fantastic recipe!
Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
serves 4, adapted from kitchen concoctions
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, trimmed and diced
1 tablespoon dried italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoons olive oil, separated
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded + sliced into strips
1 orange bell pepper, seeded + sliced into strips
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) jar pasta sauce – (use a good-quality sauce, as this will be the base for your cacciatore sauce.)
1 bay leaf
1/2 pound pasta, cooked according to package directions
optional: freshly-chopped parsley + parmesan cheese, for serving
toss the chicken pieces with the italian seasoning, paprika, salt, pepper, + red pepper. set aside while you prep/chop the rest of the ingredients.
note: you can certainly skip the next step of searing the chicken + partially cooking the vegetables, to save time. it *will* add lots of additional flavor to the dish, so if you have the extra time, it’s worth it!
heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. add the seasoned chicken, + cook until chicken has seared slightly on all sides. transfer chicken to the slow-cooker. in the same pan, add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. add the peppers, onion, + garlic to the pan + cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened slightly. transfer the mixture to the slow-cooker.
add the pasta sauce + bay leaf to the slow-cooker. (note: if you skipped the previous step of pre-searing/cooking the chicken + veggies, add the chicken, onions, peppers, garlic to the slow-cooker at this point, too) stir everything to combine. cover, + cook on low for 4-5 hours, until chicken is fall-apart tender.
when ready to serve, toss the prepared pasta with a bit of the cacciatore sauce first, then top with the chicken, peppers + onion mixture. top with freshly-chopped parsley + parmesan cheese, if desired.