I discovered this (Greek) recipe through an Asian-born, Australian, food-blogger, which I found delightfully amusing because the longer I stay in Melbourne, the more I see the blending of different food cultures. It originated from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escape cookbook.
This is definitely a “comfort food” sort of meal. It has all the simplicity of a roast chicken, but the complexity of the tomato sauce with cinnamon and sun-dried tomatoes really makes the dish much more interesting.
Be careful with sundried tomatoes though – some are packed in a liquid that contains sugar!
What do the real foodies call a dish like this? Rustic? I’m not quite sure, but I will be making it again on cold, drizzly evening.
1 x 2-kg free-range chicken
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
60 g sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
500 g vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped, or 400-g can chopped tomatoes
7.5-cm piece cinnamon stick
1 tsp dried oregano
A generous pinch of crushed dried chillies
150 ml chicken stock
A small handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Season the inside of the chicken. Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole., add the chicken and brown it on all sides over a medium heat.
- Remove the chicken to a plate, add the remaining oil and the onion to the casserole and cook until soft and lightly browned. Add the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh or canned tomatoes, cinnamon, oregano, dried chili flakes, chicken stock, 1 tsp of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer, replace the chicken and cover the casserole with some foil and a tight-fitting lid.
- Transfer the casserole to the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours until the chicken is very tender.
- When the chicken is cooked, and the juices from the thickest part of the thigh run clear, life it into a carving board, cover it tightly with foil and leave it to rest somewhere warm for 10 minutes. Skim the excess fat from the surface of the sauce, place the casserole over a medium heat and leave to simmer vigorously until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened.
- Remove the cinnamon stick from the sauce, stir in the parsley and adjust the seasoning to taste. Carve the chicken. Spoon some of the sauce onto 4 warmed plates and place the chicken on top.
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