It’s time for my annual ode 1 to pressure cooked chicken thighs. This time, I’m showcasing them in Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore.
Chicken thighs are great for pressure cooking, and much more forgiving than chicken breasts. It’s almost impossible to overcook a chicken thigh; chicken breast has a narrow “done” window, and then it turns dry and stringy. The best chicken breasts are done with an internal temperature of exactly 160°F…and good luck getting that right in a sealed pressure cooker. Chicken thighs are good at 170°F, 180°F…whatever it takes. I’ll see you on the dark side…of the chicken!
Chicken cacciatore, Italian hunter-style chicken simmered with onions, tomatoes, and garlic, is a great place to start pressure cooking chicken thighs. There’s also a lot of pot liquid with this recipe; serve it over pasta, with rice, or with mashed potatoes. (And some bread to soak up the juices is also a good idea.) Want to join us on the dark side? Try this chicken cacciatore.
Recipe: Instant Pot Chicken CacciatorePrint
Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore. Italian hunter-style chicken thighs, braised in the pressure cooker.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 8 ounces thin-sliced baby portabella mushrooms (or white button mushrooms)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 medium bell peppers, diced (I use a red and a green pepper for the color)
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (or dried oregano)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup dry white wine (pinot grigio)
- 1 cup chicken broth (preferably homemade, or water)
- 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil (for garnish)
- Brown the skin side of the chicken thighs: Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. (I use sauté mode adjusted to high in my Instant Pot pressure cooker.) Sprinkle the chicken thighs with the salt and pepper. Sear the skin side of the thighs in 2 batches: put 4 thighs in the pot, skin side down, and sear until the skin is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Move the browned chicken thighs to a bowl, then sear the second batch of thighs, about 5 more minutes. and move them to the bowl as well. The thighs will render a lot of fat – pour out all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot before moving on to the next step.
- Sauté the aromatics: Add the mushrooms to the pot and cook, without moving, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic to the pot, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning and ½ teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the onions soften, about 5 more minutes, stirring and scraping the pot with a flat-edged wooden spoon to loosen the browned chicken bits from the bottom.
- Simmer the wine, then put everything in the pot: Pour in the wine and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 minute to boil off some of the alcohol, then scrape the bottom of the pot one last time. Pour in the chicken broth, then stir in the chicken thighs and any juices in the bowl. Scatter the diced tomatoes over the top of everything.
- Pressure cook for 20 minutes with a natural pressure release: Lock the pressure cooker lid. Pressure cook on high pressure for 20 minutes in an electric PC, 16 minutes in a stovetop PC, then let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 minutes more. (If you’re in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes).
- Serve: Serve, sprinkling the chicken pieces with minced fresh basil.
- Don’t want to use wine? Use more chicken stock (or water).
- There is a lot of delicious liquid in the pot. Want a stew-like cacciatore? Cook pasta in the pot. After pressure cooking the chicken, and the natural pressure release, unlock the pot and stir in 1 cup of ditalini (or another small pasta shape). Simmer the pasta for 8 minutes (or for the cooking time on the package).
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Category: Sunday Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore, Pressure Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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- Semi-annual? Quarterly? ↩