Piletina na lovački – hunters chicken

Piletina na lovački – hunters chicken

Piletina na lovački - Croatian hunters chicken

Good old chicken stew – or piletina na lovački.

This is one of the dishes that I can remember eating as far back as my early childhood – bubbling away in my fathers kotlič, suspended over flames on three legs like a witches cauldron – or on the stovetop in Mum’s trusty pot.

We also called it paprikaš – something that originates in Hungary, but seems to be just as common in Croatia.

Piletina na lovački - Croatian hunters chicken

I’m guessing the name “hunters chicken” has something to do with this being something a bunch of Croatian blokes would knock together after playing with their shotguns out in the wilderness – downing a few wild animals to take back home to feed the family.

Piletina na lovački - Croatian hunters chicken

My family has some old movies that were filmed on reels back in the 1970’s. I haven’t looked at them for a while, but I do remember seeing some footage of my dad and his mates out in the bush doing exactly that – hunting wild boar, pheasants, ducks – just about anything that moved.

This wasn’t for cheap thrills – it was all butchered, divided amongst themselves and brought home to feed families. Buying meat at the butcher wasn’t cheap, hence the DIY.

Noklice - Croatian dumplings

When they went out hunting and camping for several days, they’d often make a stew of some sort for dinner over an open fire. Either with something they’d just hunted or brought with them from home.

What I’ve got for you here is my rendition of a hearty hunters chicken. It’s an ideal winter dish that calls for lots of bread to sop up the rich juices, or you could even shred the meat and use it all as a pasta sauce.

I’ve made some rustic looking dumplings to carry and absorb the beautiful flavours in the stew. These were one of my faves when I was very young, and you know what? They’re still one of my faves.

*Duck Egg Blue French Oven supplied by Chasseur and Pyrocast Round Gratin supplied by Pyrolux.

Piletina na lovački - Croatian hunters chicken

 

Print Recipe
Piletina na lovački {hunters chicken}
This Croatian hunters chicken, or piletina na lovački, is a perfect winter warmer that's loaded with flavour.
Piletina na lovački - hunters chicken
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Croatian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Chicken
Noklice (dumplings)
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Croatian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Chicken
Noklice (dumplings)
Piletina na lovački - hunters chicken
Instructions
Chicken
  1. Toss the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour, shake off the excess and set aside.Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high flame. Sear the chicken on both sides until golden, set aside. Toss the onions, capsicum, garlic and mushrooms into the pot you just used to sear the chicken. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the paprika, herbs, chilli (if using) and white wine. Simmer for 30 seconds, then add in the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Add the tomato paste and tomatoes and bring to the boil again, then check for seasoning.
  3. Nestle the seared chicken pieces into the sauce and push down gently to coat. Reduce the heat and gently simmer for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. Serve with noklice (dumplings), made just before the chicken is ready to serve.
Noklice (dumplings)
  1. Whisk the eggs, then add the sparkling water, stirring to combine. Whisk in the salt, flour and parsley, forming a thick and sticky dough.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Using two dessert spoons, form dumplings from the dough and drop them into the boiling water - be sure to swirl the boiling water around, making a whirlpool as you drop each dumpling in, to prevent them sticking on the bottom.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes, dunking them down a few times until the they're puffed and cooked through. Drain well, lay on a large plate and drizzle lightly with olive oil. The oil prevents them sticking together.
  4. Serve with the chicken and its glorious sauce.
Share this Recipe
  • Absolutely delicious-looking, John. I could so use a home-cooked meal like this right now. The dumplings put it right over the top. Old-school classics like this are so rare these days!

    • I really think dumplings are a must with this one, Jeff. Can you tell I’m an avid fan?

  • Can’t think of anything better to eat this winter. Yum!

  • KevinIsCooking

    As a kid I went with my dad and uncle deer hunting and it was quite the experience. Nothing I took myself, but interesting nonetheless. Their “hunters chicken meal” out in the woods was kippers and saltines if I remember. This would have been very much welcomed! Beautiful and I’m a big fan of dumplings, whether Asian or stewed like these, it’s just perfect!

    I’m drinking coffee and a protein shake this morning and would prefer your edible looking photos right now. 🙂

    BTW, when you mention the red capsicum, is the US equivalent the red bell pepper or a chile?

    • I adore this kind of dumpling. Actually I like any dumpling, but the European ones are closer to my heart. I think I need to get my mums recipe for her enormous bread dumplings and share them with you all.

      Oh, our capsicum is the equivalent to your bell pepper. As for chile or chile pepper, we just call them a chilli.

  • AmandaChewTown

    This chicken dish with the dumplings sounds like the epitome of Croatian comfort food. The dumplings would be the perfect accompaniment soaking up all the delicious juices.

  • Stephanie_The_Recipe_Renovator

    John, I just can’t even believe how gorgeous your photos and recipes are. I will definitely be making this, with just one sub on the flour to make it gluten-free. I’ll see if my Croatian hubs recognizes it!

  • I have to say, John, that it is a rare day when I have all the ingredients for one of your recipes in my kitchen already! Mark and I were just looking at this recipe, and decided that it will be Sunday night’s supper. That is kind of crazy, because it’s going to be really hot here on Sunday. Our theory? Add more heat!

    • I hope you both enjoy it. When I was an early teen living in very warm and humid south east Queensland with my family, mum used to make a huge roast for dinner. We had no air con and not even a ceiling fan. Talk about torture. What made it worse was that we had a hot soup beforehand! Sweat was literally dripping onto the dining table.

      • As I just said in my other comment, the house smells incredible! Lucky for us, it is nice and cool today. I cannot even begin to imagine making this with no air conditioning! Sweat and food combined just isn’t pretty, is it?

        • Well I can confidently say I know how good it smells. Get that crusty bread ready and enjoy!

  • It looks soo good and reminds me of my mamma’s Chicken Cacciatore. Now she would make polenta, cut it in slices and then put the chicken plus all of the luscious juices on top. Those old tried and true recipes are the best. I’m going to have to try your version. and as usual your shots are amazing. I really love how you show a meal in progress not staged perfection (the juice running down your pot). That’s the way I cook — sometimes messy, sometimes neat. And John, you weren’t sweating — the gentile ladies of the South say they are “glowing”. 🙂 Looking forward to your next post!!

    • It’s very similar to cacciatore, Marisa. And I love the polenta idea!

  • Mila Furman

    Yup…I love this…I would eat this without the chicken because I am meat free…but OMG… Those pictures John… you are such a genius!!!

  • Sara (Belly Rumbles)

    Dumplings!!!! Oh be still my Latvian heart. Yah I know they aren’t Latvian but we do loves our dumplings. Plus why would you call it chicken stew when piletina na lovački is far more exotic.

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