Easy Slow Cooker Cacciatore is hearty, rich, and perfect for cold nights! It has complex flavors from simple ingredients.
I have made this version of cacciatore for few years now. It’s been evolving and changing throughout the years. I’ve added more ingredients that add to the complexity of the sauce and flavor of this easy slow cooker chicken cacciatore.
I started with peppers, onions, olives, and crushed tomatoes. Which is a really good combination but just not quite the depth of flavor I was looking for. Even with adding in some herbs and spices like oregano, thyme, rosemary, and garlic.
Then I remembered when Mom and I took those classes and we made puttanesca. They started with a couple of anchovies in the pan. I was wary because I cannot stand anchovies. I can’t even stand to smell them cooking, but I stuck it out. And that puttanesca was a delicious dish! I haven’t made it since and I really should. Maybe that will be next on my list of pasta dishes to finalize and share.
Anchovies add a richness to the sauce!
And did you know that anchovies are in a traditional Caesar salad recipe? True. Not lying. The hubs jokes that we should add anchovies to our Caesar salads. Yeah. No. Not gonna happen. And we’re not getting them on pizza either. But, yes, I will melt one or two in the pan when I brown the chicken before putting it in the slow cooker.
My husband makes a killer piccata. I mean, it’s lick the pan delicious. And he keeps evolving that recipe, too. I keep telling him he needs to make it final so I can share it on the blog. It’s in the works. That’s all I can say.
Piccata has capers in the sauce. Their briney goodness makes piccata absolutely delicious! They pair with the lemon and cuts through the richness of all the butter, wine, and broth-y goodness that is piccata. And they are just the bit of brine-y flavor that truly brightens the cacciatore sauce. The richness of the anchovy laced crushed tomato sauce is elevated with the capers in there.
But there was still something not quite there with this easy slow cooker chicken cacciatore. As if there is other types of cacciatore. I’ve only known chicken cacciatore. Not like there’s pork cacciatore and beef. Or is there?
See that caper right there? I strategically placed that there. Along with the strip of pepper and the olive. Oh yes. There’s salty kalamata olives in there. And, ironically, it’s the Walmart kalamata olives that I love the most. Or all the brands on the shelf. I would have thought Mezzetta would be the fave.
Walmart has the best kalamata olives IMHO.
They’re not to salty or brine-y. They have a great combination of kalamata and black olive flavors. Of course, well know how much I love black olives. I talked about it in this Tuscan Pomodoro recipe.
As if that’s not enough, there’s thin slices of meat in there. I usually have prosciutto in there. Use prosciutto of you have it. Or you can use pancetta if you have that. And if you have chorizo use that!
For whatever reason I didn’t have any prosciutto in the fridge. But I did have chorizo. So, this has chorizo in there. It adds a nice smoky flavor I wasn’t expecting. And it wasn’t a spicy chorizo like I had in my pumpkin chorizo tamales. This was the hard salami type chorizo which, in my experience, isn’t the spicy type. Maybe it’s just the ones I’ve had, but they’re usually not too spicy for me.
Just look that bowl of goodness right there!
Now, I’m not one to brown things before putting it in the slow cooker. I think it’s sort of against what the slow cooker should be about. But I make an exception with this recipe. And it’s due to anchovy. You really do need to melt the anchovy or it will taste like fish.
What is it about the anchovy?
The process of curing the anchovies they’re transformed from fishy ick to umami goodness with very little fishy taste. Especially if you melt them completely into the oil. And I do that before I brown the chicken. I want the chicken to have that rich, anchovy scented oil to brown in before pouring all that goodness into the slow cooker.
I see you turning your nose up.
But don’t. If I can have anchovies in this easy cacciatore then you can, too. Because I am the epitome of picky when it comes to fishiness. There’s certain fish I can’t eat because of their flavor. And anchovies are tops on the list. Along with sardines. The canned type. I haven’t had fresh ones, but I’m guessing they’re fishy, too.
Melting the anchovies in the oil before browning the chicken smells weird. I’m not going the lie. And you’re going to think I’m off my rocker and this is going to be a disaster. But trust me. You will not taste anchovies. However, you WILL taste the richness that they bring to the table in the sauce. And I can’t imagine having cacciatore without them.
If you told 10-year-old me that I’d have anchovies AND chicken thighs in a recipe that I would love and devour on a regular basis I’d laugh my butt off! I’d say you were off your rocker and crazy. But, it’s true. Chicken breasts do not hold up well, in my opinion, in the slow cooker. They always get dry. No matter how hard I try.
Chicken thighs have just enough fat and flavor in there to keep the moist. And adds to the richness of the dish. I just have to be careful when I’m eating them. I always manage to get cartilage in my mouth. Which is gross. And there’s that whole artery looking vein thing that I have to pull out when I’m eating thighs, too. But they really are becoming my chicken part of choice lately.
There are noodles under there.
I swear. But I love the sauce so much, I pile it on high! There’s so much flavor in this sauce with the peppers, onions, capers, anchovies, and olives. Not to mention the herbs and spices. Oh, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Not enough to make it spicy, but just enough to add a little heat on the back end.
My mouth is watering. I cannot wait to have this again! We have it at least once a month. That’s how much we love it. I know you’ll love it, too. And you really need to have it with the anchovies. It will be a game changer. Trust me!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (I used garlic flavored)
- 2 to 3 oil cured anchovy filets
- 1 1/2 pounds skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup diced prosciutto (or pancetta or chorizo)
- 2 cups thinly sliced peppers
- 1 cup thinly sliced onions
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onions powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 4 to 6 cups cooked egg noodles
- Place the olive oil and anchovies in a medium skillet over high heat. Using the back of a wooden spoon, smash the anchovies as they cook until they melt into the olive oil.
- Place the chicken in the skillet and brown on both sides.
- Transfer the chicken the chicken the liner of a slow cooker. Sprinkle the prosciutto over the chicken.
- Pour the pan drippings over the chicken and use a rubber spatula to get all that anchovy goodness into the slow cooker.
- Add the next eleven ingredients (peppers through crushed red pepper) to the slow cooker.
- Pour the crushed tomatoes over everything and cook on low 6 to 8 hours or until the chicken thighs are fork tender.
- Server over the cooked egg noodles with garlic bread or crusty bread to soak up all that rich, delicious sauce!
You can cook on high 3 to 4 hours.
You can also cook this in the pressure cooker on low for 20 minutes with 10 minutes of natural pressure release.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 2024Total Fat 61gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 42gCholesterol 527mgSodium 1740mgCarbohydrates 270gFiber 18gSugar 17gProtein 104g
WOW! Two THOUSAND calories per serving? Eat at your own risk.
Welcome to our #NationalSlowCookerMonth Celebration!
This week we are celebrating all things slow cooker! We have delicious recipes from across the country to fill your meal plans with delicious slow cooker recipes!
- Slow Cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage from Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Easy Chicken Cacciatore from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Slow Cooker Veggie Lasagna Soup from Magical Ingredients
- Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup from Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog
- Sweet Potato Lentil Soup from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- 3 Ingredient Slow Cooker Cherry Cobbler from Blogghetti
- Slow Cooker Peanut Butter Cup Crème Brûlée for Two from The Spiffy Cookie
- Slow Cooker Texas Chili from Palatable Pastime
- Bacon Ranch Potatoes from A Day in the Life on the Farm