Monday, November 12, 2007

Greek Chicken

There is this little food shop in town called A to Z international foods, I buy pita bread for the restaurant there, so I go there fairly often. They have the most wonderful assortment of middle eastern and Spanish food...down to the Abuelita chocolate bars I used to love when I was very young, (as opposed to now of course, when I just feel very young while eating them!).

Anyhow, they sell about 5 different types of feta and after sampling them all, I have decided I French Feta is my favorite. I've had French feta before, but I had never tasted it next to the others- it's mild and not as crumbly as the Greek, which means it will hold it's shape a little better when warm. In this dish, the feta is added while the chicken is still warm and the French Feta held it's shape well.

I served the chicken set over Israeli cous cous cooked in chicken stock and it made for a very nice combination. The last time I had prepared this recipe, the chicken turned out a little tough- which I was completely perplexed about- but I found out that if you marinate the chicken too long, (which I had done- almost 2 days in the fridge), the exact opposite of what you hope for (tender juicy chicken) happens- it gets tough. So, a few hours in the marinade is just enough.

Greek Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 1/2 cup dry white wine
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (for marinade)
freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes ( I use grape tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes when available)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3/4 cup pitted Greek olives, sliced
1/4 cup basil leaves sliced (tip: roll the leaves like a cigar then slice the roll)
1/2 cup Feta cheese cut into 2 inch slices

1. Rinse the chicken breasts under cold water, pat dry with paper towels, and place in a shallow glass baking dish.

2. In a small bowl stir lemon juice, wine, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour marinade over chicken and rub it onto all sides. Cover and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat until the butter melts. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, reserving the marinade to make the sauce, and place the breasts in the skillet. Cook the chicken breasts, turning only once for about 5 minutes per side, until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer them to a plate, cover with foil and set aside.

4. Add the onion and tomatoes to the pan you cooked the chicken in, reduce heat to medium, and cook stirring frequently until the onions are translucent and the tomatoes soften a bit. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the reserved marinade, this will de-glace the pan. Bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer for 2-3 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Return the chicken to the skillet with the sauce, add olives and basil and simmer for 6-8 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken to a platter and spoon sauce on each breast. Add feta cheese, additional fresh basil and oregano and serve.

1 comment:

  1. I'm making this for dinner tonight. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!


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