Chicken Casserole: Chicken Casserole with Tomatoes and Spices

posted by Liz Thomas 05-26-101 10:19 PM

Chicken Casserole with Tomatoes and Spices
Original Version – Greek Food by Rena Salaman (an author whom I consider to be the doyen of Greek food writing).

A good boiling fowl or a chicken, jointed
Salt and black pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil but if using a chicken add 1 oz of butter
1 glass red wine
1 stick cinnamon
3 cloves
2 allspice
12 oz fresh tomatoes skinned and sliced or 1 14-oz can of tomatoes
1 bay leaf

Wash and dry the chicken pieces. Season with salt and pepper and fry the pieces in a large saucepan in hot vegetable oil or the mixture of oil and butter, until they become golden on all sides. You can also wash and fry the giblets.

Pour the wine slowly all over. Add the spices and the tomatoes (if fresh tomatoes are used, add 1/2 pint hot water for a hen or 1/4 pint for a chicken) more seasoning, cover and simmer for 1 hour for chicken, or approximately 2 hours for a fowl, according to its age and toughness. Stir occasionally. You should have a thick aromatic sauce by the end, quite oily.

Serve the chicken pieces on top of white rice or any kind of pasta with the sauce over it.

Now, my version:

I also do this with a whole chicken cooking it in a deep, covered casserole dish removing the lid for the last 10 minutes to brown the chicken. This way it creates much more juice so I dish the chicken and the reduce the sauce till thick and oily and pour over the bird before serving and carving. Delicious either way

1 chicken - jointed (or six large legs cut into two joints)
2 allspice berries
1 small glass white wine
2 cloves garlic - crushed
1 medium onion - sliced
1 small stick cinnamon
3 cloves
Salt and black pepper
12 oz very ripe tomatoes or 1 x 14 oz can of tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp oil + 1 oz butter

Wash and dry chicken, season with salt and pepper and fry in oil and butter till golden brown.

Chop garlic, onions and roughly chop tomatoes. Sprinkle the garlic and onions, spices, sugar, and torn up bay leaf over the top of the chicken and then add the tomatoes (if using fresh tomatoes add about 1/3 pint of water). Pour over the wine.

Cover pan and simmer slowly for about one hour until the chicken is tender, stir gently occasionally. The sauce should be thick and quite oily.

Serve with rice or pasta and a green salad.

The recipe says one stick of cinnamon but I find this too strong so I only use half a stick. Perhaps Greek cinnamon sticks are smaller than the ones we get.

Do with whole chicken in crock pot. Brown the whole chicken in a big pot first and then cook on low for 2 hours. This can come out more oily so when you transfer the chicken to the crock pot leave the oil behind. It can also come out more liquid in which case put the chicken in a serving dish and then reduce the sauce in a pan and pour over the chicken before serving..

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