Last night I had the lovely Fig over for our regular Tuesday evening shenanigans. Instead of our usual Doctor Who or zombies we spent most of the evening watching episodes and clips from kitsch 1970s and ’80s television programmes mostly featuring the superlative Hinge and Bracket and the wonderful Beryl Reid. We did finish off with an episode of The Walking Dead though.
Anyway, I saw this recipe being talked about by friends on Facebook so I decided to follow the link and give it a go. It’s a tasty little recipe with some interesting flavours. I’m not a big fan of olives but the flavour works rather well with the other flavours in the stew. I always associate cinnamon more with Moroccan cooking rather than Greek but it works well and the feta crumbled on top certainly gives it a Greek feel.
In a couple of small changes to the recipe I added a couple of dashes of white wine (partly to deglaze the pan after frying the chicken and onions.) I also roasted the cauliflower for 10 minutes or so before adding to the stew.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves crushed
6 to 8 chicken thighs, skinned (I used thigh fillets rather than thighs on the bone. That worked well.)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1-2 440ml cans of chopped tomatoes (I also added a little of the passata I had left over from Monday’s dinner, just to thicken the sauce a little.)
½ a teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 small or ½ a large cauliflower, broken into florets, and sliced about ½ inch thick
12 kalamata olives, rinsed, pitted and cut in half
1-2 tablespoons of chopped flat-leaf parsley
60g of feta cheese, crumbled
Heat the oven to 200.
Place the sliced cauliflower on a baking tray, drizzle lightly with olive oil and roast in the oven for 10 minutes or so, until just starting to colour and become tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan and brown the chicken, for about 5 minutes on each side. (if using chopped chicken thigh fillets, then just brown them nicely all over.) Remove the pieces to a plate or bowl as they’re browned. Pour off the fat from the pan.
Add the vinegar to the pan and scrape up all the bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan, and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pan, until it begins to soften. (I also added a couple of dashes of white wine to help deglaze the pan.)
Turn the heat to low, cover and let the onion cook for for 5-10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until it is lightly browned and very soft.
Add the garlic and stir together for a minute or two more, until the garlic is fragrant, then add the tomatoes, the cinnamon, thyme, passata if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and simmer 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the mixture is reduced slightly.
Return the chicken pieces to the pot, along with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. If necessary, add enough water to barely cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.
Add the roasted cauliflower and kalamata olives and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and the chicken is just about falling off the bone.
Stir in the parsley, and seasoning if required. Serve with the feta sprinkled on top.