Thursday, 17 April 2014
Eureka! (Or any other loosely connected Greek exclamation...) Chicken with Olives
Firstly, allow me to set the scene, in the only way I know is appropriate:
It is highly unlikely that I will get anywhere near Greece this year as hopefully we'll be hotfooting it to France during the Summer hols, but, you never know, should the lottery numbers come up this evening I might decide to tag on a little extra holiday on somewhere. Yeh, who am I trying to kid? I can't believe I said 'might'. Let's be honest, should I acquire the profession of 'Lottery Millionaire' later on this evening then you wouldn't see me for dust. Anyway, until that inevitable time where I put my deposit down on some swanky Maserati and leave on a jetplane for warmer climes, I will have to be content with creating Rhodes, Crete, or (insert your favourite Greek island here) with a little bit of creativity in my own kitchen.
I am very fortunate to own 'Vefa's Kitchen' by Vefa Alexiadou, bought for me by Phill for a birthday a few years ago and it is one of those glorious cookbooks which is chock full of recipes, glossy pictures evocative of warmer climes, herbaceous hillsides, and the contrast of blue against white; that last image being the epitome of Greece (for me at least) whether it be whitewashed buildings against blue domes, or the fluttering of the Greek flag in a warm summer breeze. Even the cover of this weighty tome is blue and white.
I could have cooked anything from this book to be fair, but as I have a brood to feed, I have to choose something that will appeal to all of us (though to be honest, Finn still proves a problem here...) I cooked a very easy dish, chicken and olives, which appealed to Finn (chicken) Lola, (pasta) and me and Phill (olives and it goes well with Mythos).
If you are not olive mad like Phill and I, you can of course omit or fish the offending things out when you serve, but I have to say the cooking of olives tends to mellow them out and add an interesting flavour to the dish, but each to their own of course, and I haven't succeeded in getting either Lola and Finn to them yet. My adaptations to the recipe are below, the main one being that I used chicken thighs so I adjusted the cooking time accordingly as a thigh piece is considerably smaller than a quarter of a chicken.
Chicken with Olives, adapted from 'Vefa's Kitchen' by Vefa Alexiadou
1 chicken, about 3 1/4lb quartered (I used six boneless chicken thighs, skin on)
salt and pepper
5 tbsp. olive oil
three garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 tbsp. of freshly chopped thyme, majoram or oregano (I used oregano)
5 tbsp. of dry white wine
A can of chopped tomatoes
5oz Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
Spaghetti to serve
Season the chicken with salt and pepper
Heat the oil in the pan and add the chicken and cook over a medium heat, turning occasionally until browned all over.
Add the garlic and oregano and cook, storing constantly for about five minutes
Pour in the wine and simmer until the alcohol has evaporated.
Add the tomatoes, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, (30 if you are cooking chicken quarters) then add the olives. Cook for about 20 minutes more (30 if you are cooking chicken quarters) or until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened perceptibly.
Serve the chicken and the sauce over spaghetti.