For the next couple of months, we’re exploring Greek cuisine and culture using the recipes and wisdom of part-time Greece, part-time New York resident, Diane Kochilas. (The Country Cooking of Greece and The Glorious Foods of Greece: Traditional Recipes from the Islands, Cities and Villages)
This hearty recipe hails from Epirus in rocky, mountainous northwestern Greece. I can’t find proof, but suspect it owes its cinnamon, allspice and cloves to the Ottomans who ruled Epirus for more than 400 years. Like most Epirote cuisine, it is a simple dish with few ingredients, but somehow they all meld into one big, delicious, warming bowl of comfort food. Serve over rice on a cold, snowy night. Add more broth and you’ve got soup for the next evening, too.
- One 2½ - 3 pound chicken, cut into serving pieces and skin removed, if desired
- Salt and pepper
- ⅓ cup flour
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large yellow onions, halved and sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 large green bell peppers, cut into ½ inch rings
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 small dried hot peppers (I used Thai chile peppers)
- 1½ cup canned chopped tomatoes
- 32 ounces low sodium chicken broth, more or less
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then dredge it lightly in the flour which has been placed in a shallow dish. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken in batches, if necessary, until lightly browned, 7-8 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the pot and cook the onions, garlic and green peppers until wilted, about 8 minutes.
- Return the chicken to the pot and add the spices and tomatoes. Add enough chicken broth to the pan, plus water if necessary, to just reach the top of the ingredients. Bring to a boil and slowly simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is tender and the sauce is thick, about 1½ hours.
- If the chicken is so tender it is falling off the bone, you may remove the bones, leaving just the pieces of meat which creates a more soup-like dish.
- Before serving, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.