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Chicken Cacciatora Maddalena

Pollo ala Cacciatora Maddalena

Posted by Denise on July 27, 2012

chicken cacciatora maddalena on blue plate
Full of old fashioned Italian flavor, Chicken Cacciatora Maddalena is a new family favorite.

Don’t you love really old cookbooks? We do. We pick them up at garage sales, antique stores, thrift shops, anywhere we find them cheaply priced. We recently bought a copy of a 1955 cookbook called The Italian Cookbook by Maria Louisa Taglient (Yes, another cookbook. We are still cataloging my collection. Hard to do when it is large and still growing…J) Anyway, Glenn was flipping through it and he was intrigued with this recipe, so we decided to try it right away.

We normally test a recipe more than once. We test an interesting recipe exactly as written to see how we like it, then test it further to tweak or change it as we would prefer the finished product to taste.

We tried this recipe for Chicken Cacciatora Maddalena and absolutely loved it. We couldn’t think of a thing that we would change, except for the instructions. The instructions of the original sautés the vegetables together first, then adds the chicken to the mixture to brown. That never seems to work for us, because chicken doesn’t like to brown when there is too much moisture in the pan (other than oil). That is why you should always pat meat dry after rinsing it, so that there isn’t too much moisture when you want to brown it. So we reversed the instructions to brown the chicken first, then removed the chicken from the pan and keep it warm while sautéing the vegetables. It’s all shown in the instructions below.

We didn’t have an entire chicken at home, so rather than make a trip to the store, we substituted chicken thighs. We prefer thighs when cooking on the stove anyway, since it tends to stay more moist.

At the first bite we took, Glenn and I looked at each other and said “Wow, this is great!" This is a recipe we will use many times. We hope you are as happy with this recipe as we were.



Chicken Cacciatora Maddalena



 chicken cacciatora maddalena ingredients


Makes 4-6 servings




lbs. chicken, cut up into serving pieces or chicken thighs


cup olive oil


small onion, minced


tablespoon chopped parsley


tablespoon chopped celery


clove garlic, minced


small bay leaves


teaspoon rosemary, chopped


cup dry white wine (we used a Pinot Gregio)


tablespoons white wine vinegar


salt and pepper




1.     Add about half of the olive oil to a flat pan with at least 2” tall sides. Any high-sided skillet with a lid will work. Heat oil over medium high heat. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces and add them to the skillet, browning on all sides. Remove the browned chicken from the pan and keep warm, leaving the oil and juices in the pan.


2.     Turn heat down to medium. Pour the rest of the oil in the pan. Place the minced onion, chopped parsley and celery and minced garlic in the oil and sauté gently until onion is golden in color.


chicken cacciatora maddalena veggies in pan



3.     Add the bay leaves, rosemary, wine and vinegar to the pan and gently mix with the ingredients in the pan, making sure to scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Add chicken back to the pan, skin side up to keep it more crisp. Make sure the chicken is nestled into the veggie mix in the pan.


 chicken cacciatora maddalena chicken in pan



4.     Turn the heat to low and cover the pan. Simmer for 35 to 45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Add water if needed to keep liquid in the pan. When done, serve chicken with pan sauce over the top.




chicken cacciatora maddalena from side 


chicken cacciatora maddalena on flowered plate


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