Thursday, 16 March 2017

Chicken in red wine sauce with pasta


I first tried this dish, kotopoulo me hilopites, made with a rooster rather than chicken, on Santorini, but it is similar to a famous celebratory dish from Corfu, pastitsatha, which is often cooked with spicy hot peppers and with veal, beef or even seafood instead of chicken. This makes a delicious and easy weeknight supper.

To grate fresh tomatoes, place a box grater in a sieve, then place both inside a large bowl to catch the juice. Put a folded tea towel under the bowl to stop it slipping. Cut the tomatoes in half across the middle and place the cut surface against the grater. Grate, using the skin to protect your hands. Discard the skins.

2 tablespoons olive oil
450gr skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato puree
200ml red wine
200gr canned chopped tomatoes
or 4 very ripe, fresh tomatoes, halved, seeded and grated, skins discarded
3cm cinnamon stick
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2 bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper
200gr dried long pasta, such as tagliatelle
grated or shaved kefalotyri or pecorino cheese, to serve

Set a wide pan over a fairly high heat, add the oil and brown the chicken pieces thoroughly, in batches, otherwise they will stew rather than brown. Remove the first batch to a plate while you brown the rest. Return all the meat to the pan, reduce the heat and add the onion. Cook gently, stirring often, for 8–10 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring again.

Add the tomato purée and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring. Next, deglaze the pan by adding the red wine, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, allspice, bay leaves and 100 ml of hot water and season generously. Stir, reduce the heat and simmer for 35 minutes, partially covered with a lid, stirring occasionally.

When the sauce is nearly ready and most the liquid has reduced, cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 1 minute less than the packet instructions.

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Discard the bay leaves. Serve the sauce mixed with the pasta or stirred though, with a little cheese scattered over each bowl.

Source: The Islands of Greece by Rebecca Seal


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