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This recipe is classed as easy

Rating 3.28 / 5 (415 votes)

Prep time:
15 min
Cook time:
55 min

The classic combination of wine, olive and tomatoes showcases Gary Rhodes' chicken cacciatore as Italian cuisine at its best


1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan. Add the garlic, sage and rosemary and gently heat in the oil for 30 seconds. Add the chilli flakes and continue frying for another 30 seconds.

2. Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Increase the heat under the frying pan to medium, add the chicken and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning once, until golden brown.

3. Add the olives and white wine, bring to the boil and simmer until the volume of liquid has reduced by three-quarters.

4. Add the tomato purée, then the chopped tomatoes and 300ml hot water. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring well, and cook for 30-35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has lightly thickened.

5. Taste the sauce and season as necessary. Serve with soft polenta, boiled rice or creamy mashed potatoes.


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, halved
  • 8-10 leaves sage
  • 1 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked
  • 1 pinches dried red chilli flakes
  • 8 chicken drumsticks, or thighs
  • 150 g cured Tuscan olives
  • 250 ml dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 x 400 g cans chopped tomatoes

Tips and suggestions

It’s important to simmer the chicken gently, not allowing the sauce to reduce too quickly. If you find it’s very thick once done, simply loosen the sauce with some extra hot water.

Comments & Ratings

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Latest Comment


Wonderful dish - loved by me and my husband, who passed away this summer. Preparing it for my grandchildren tomorrow, with great joy, as they love my cooking..... Thank you for your inspiration!
Elisabeth/Larvik Norway

ElisabethL56899 ElisabethL56899  Posted 05 Nov 2013 11:31 PM

Easy to make, agree with the previous comments, the additional hot water should probably be halved if you want a thicker sauce. Chilli flakes gave the meal a nice kick. I will make this again ??

Dido_h Dido_h  Posted 10 Sep 2013 5:36 AM

really tasty everyone loved it & so easy to make. The great thing about this recipe is that it's so versatile you can put in what ever extras you like & it will still work. I bet some butter beans would be nice or chorizo. I also added 2 chopped red onions, a pack of chopped up bacon, a couple of handfuls of cubed carrot, mushrooms & 1 tbs of white wine vinegar. Served with creamy mash & broccoli. The chicken was so tender & the sauce really tasty. Got some sauce left over to freeze & have with pasta for a second meal!!Great for family or guests.

JoseeS83237 JoseeS83237  Posted 06 Apr 2012 9:06 AM

This worked a treat. I made for 6 and added a third extra ingredients. Added water as recipe for 4 and gave the pot plenty of time to reduce down. Worth choosing large, good quality chicken thighs or add extra if small. Make sure to add a splash of lemon if using uncured olives. Was fine with dried herbs as I couldn't find fresh. I served with cheesy mash and pot-roasted root vegetables. Everything kept warm well in the oven for a while too. Very tasty.

JudithM8165 JudithM8165 Posted 18 Sep 2011 3:03 PM

This dish was a huge success with my friends, I agree with everyone else that the water made the sauce too runny. I'm making it tomorrow night without the water.

RochelleC13162 RochelleC13162 Posted 18 Feb 2011 5:21 PM

Made this dish this evening. I don't eat meat but my family assured me it was nice. Didn't add any extra water at all, thought it was better to add at the end if too thick rather that be too runny. I didn't need to add water so I would recommend leaving it out altogether

RachelW70761 RachelW70761 Posted 24 Aug 2010 8:26 PM

Why 300 mls of water, far to much liquid.

Big Cook Big Cook Posted 13 Aug 2010 1:44 PM

Quick and easy to make but sophisticated taste. V.good classic dish.

SimonD70915 SimonD70915 Posted 09 Aug 2010 5:16 PM

nice flevored and test and easy to make

bhavinI91502 bhavinI91502 Posted 05 May 2010 11:55 AM

Easy supper dish to prepare and very tasty... especially with parmesan polenta and a glass or two of red !!

GarethB39254 GarethB39254 Posted 25 Mar 2010 3:42 PM

fantastic! great taste and easy too

michelleW74443 michelleW74443 Posted 19 Mar 2010 5:21 PM

so simple yet big taste and easy, kids loved it

OLDCHEF OLDCHEF Posted 08 Mar 2010 6:07 PM

We loved this one!! Simple and so tasty....finished up the sauce with "scarpetta"!!

Guerino Guerino Posted 08 Feb 2010 12:36 AM

In one word:
D E L I C I O U S !!!

JannaW29658 JannaW29658 Posted 06 Feb 2010 8:22 PM

Really amazing and so retro easy to make there was a little sauce left over so I used it for a sauce for spaghetti so good
5 stars thank you Gary Rhodes

AngelaL4192 AngelaL4192 Posted 03 Feb 2010 10:03 PM

went very well with cous cous and salad the chicken really takes on all the flavours lovely and easy to do

williamH25680 williamH25680 Posted 02 Feb 2010 8:34 AM

what a delicious and easy dish for week days,we all loved it. great with rice, i give 5 stars

sue294 sue294 Posted 01 Feb 2010 3:11 PM

Absolutely delicious a true reminder of Toscana. I rate this 5 stars but am unable to do so due to an error message on your site??

BrianT38710 BrianT38710 Posted 31 Jan 2010 9:09 AM

Really delicious, had to use the olives I had but will find the cured Tuscan for next time

SueH52367 SueH52367 Posted 25 Jan 2010 11:42 AM