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Mary Ann Esposito’s Meal of the Month | Quick Winter Chicken Cacciatore

At Backyard Farms, we're here to help you add flavor to every meal. That's why we're especially excited that Chef Mary Ann Esposito of Ciao Italia on PBS has agreed to share a new dish each month that she prepared in her home kitchen that's easy to create in your own kitchen. For more great recipe ideas from Mary Ann, check out her newest cookbook, Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy!

"Love winter?  So do I! It's the perfect time to make some good old-fashioned comfort foods. Winter is the season to crave stews, soups and braised slow cooked meat and chicken when those blustery cold days seem endless. Chicken cacciatore, hunter-style chicken, is one of those homey classic comfort food Italian dishes that is meant for winter eating and it tastes even better made a day or two ahead. In my grandmother’s day, preparing chicken cacciatore was an all consuming dish to make because it started with a fresh whole chicken that was de-feathered, cut into pieces and well, you get the picture.  And even though, the flavor of her cacciatore was incredible, I stubbornly have tweaked her recipe to save time but not sacrifice the flavor by using boneless chicken breasts cut into strips for a dish that cooks in less than thirty minutes. Bright and juicy Backyard Farms cocktail tomatoes provide the just right added flavor to compliment the chicken. Nice side dishes to serve with the chicken include rice, pasta, potatoes or polenta. To save even more time, use a food processor to mince and dice."

– Mary Ann Esposito

Backyard Farms Quick Chicken Cacciatore



2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon celery seeds

1 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or more to taste

6 halved boneless chicken breasts, each cut into 2-inch-wide strips

1 large onion, peeled and minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 ribs celery, thinly sliced

1 medium green pepper, seeded and diced

2/3 cup white wine

2 boxes Backyard Farms cocktail tomatoes, coarsely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon


Combine the salt, celery seeds, oregano, pepper, and pepper flakes in a plastic bag. Add the chicken strips, close the bag and shake to coat them in the mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to hold the breast strips in a single layer. If you don't have a large enough pan, brown the strips in batches.

As they brown, transfer them to a dish. Add the onion, garlic, celery and green pepper to the pan and cook until the mixture softens.

Raise the heat to high and pour in the wine and allow half of it to evaporate. Lower the heat and stir in the tomatoes and lemon juice. Return the chicken strips with their juices to the pan. Cover and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes. Use immediately or refrigerate. Reheat slowly.

Variation:  fresh sliced mushrooms make a nice addition, as does 1 cup of frozen peas. Add the mushrooms with the celery; add the peas five minutes before the chicken is done.

Thinking Ahead: Buy and freeze extra chicken breasts to have on hand. Onions and garlic can be minced in batches, wrapped well in plastic wrap and also frozen for future use.