Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Greek Chicken

By Jenn Casey

I tweeted a few days ago that I was making my most yummiest Greek chicken for dinner and had several requests for a recipe. My neighbor (who is Greek) and I found a recipe in a magazine many years ago and I've adapted it so much and used it so often that I can now just make it all by myself.

You should be very impressed, as cooking as such has been a skill I've been working hard to cultivate, mostly out of necessity (it's cheaper and healthier to cook at home)!

:::pauses for you to be impressed:::

And now here's my recipe, but be warned that it's one of those kinds of recipes without many exact measurements since that's how I make it these days (the additional commentary is just a nice bonus, as you'll no doubt agree!). I did try to pay a little more attention the other night when I made it, as I was planning to post the recipe, so hopefully my amounts and guidelines will be helpful enough. Also, this recipe is paleo-friendly, my healthy diet of choice.


Ingredients

Chicken, whatever cuts you like best, as much as you can fit into a 9 x 13 casserole dish (mine is glass) without too much crowding (is that a couple of pounds of meat? I don't really know). I used to use boneless skinless chicken breasts (and they turn out very nicely with this recipe), but lately we've switched to bone-in skin-on drumsticks and thighs since we all like the flavor of the dark meat better and it's much cheaper and then everyone gets a drumstick or two and nobody has to throw a big fit about how they never get a drumstick.

2-3 medium-ish lemons

Kalamata olives, about a 7 oz. jar (Vigo and Krinos are good brands). Go ahead and get the pitted olives so nobody feels the need to complain about the pits. Obviously, if you are cooking for other grownups, then you won't care so much about the complaint factor (even though we grownups sometimes complain, in general I feel like we ought to suck it up and deal when eating food prepared for us by others), but with children I don't mind making a few accommodations if it will encourage them to eat the healthy food I make.

Olive oil, a couple good drizzles or two. I think that olive oil may or may not be strictly paleo and I bet you could use coconut oil, too. But olive oil is so Greek and adds a nice (and in my opinion necessary) flavor to the dish. Use your best EVOO for the best flavor.

Feta Cheese, go ahead and buy the good stuff you have to crumble by hand.

Oregano, no idea how much--a nice sprinkling on all sides of the chicken pieces.

Salt and Pepper, to taste, which I've just realized is Official Chef Speak for saying what I just said about the oregano (i.e., I have no idea how much).


What To Do

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of the dish and then put the chicken in and coat all sides with the olive oil. Salt and pepper all sides while you're at it. (If you have children assisting you in this process, please make sure to pre-measure the salt to be added in a reasonable amount, or else you'll have very salty chicken. Particularly if you happen to be cooking with Ryan.)

Cut the lemons in half (rolling them around first to make them all juicier) and squeeze the juice all over the chicken. Put the lemon halves (sometimes I go ahead and quarter them) in the dish, in a strategic, yet artfully arranged manner. I like my Greek chicken lemony, so I usually use all three of my lemons, but I'll leave that final decision up to you because I'm nice like that.

Sprinkle oregano all over the chicken. If you have child assistance, let them go nuts with this part. Drain the juice from the jar of olives and then sprinkle the olives all around the dish. I like my Greek chicken olivey. Yum.

Put the dish in the oven and cook for as long as you usually cook chicken in a casserole dish. Sorry. I know that's not super helpful. For us, it's around 40 minutes, depending on how much chicken you're cooking.

About 10 minutes before the chicken is due to be finished cooking, crumble the feta cheese all over the top of the dish, taking care to leave un-cheesed pieces of chicken if you have children who might freak out at the possibility of accidentally consuming an iota of feta (thankfully, this is no longer the case at our house, but we used to have this feta cheese problem, so if you have this, you have nothing by my sympathy and understanding).

And then, you'll get something that looks like this:


Greek chicken! on Twitpic


Ryan thinks it tastes so good that he actually drinks all of the fatty juices in addition to eating the chicken. And the other kids love it as well. Leftover Greek chicken is also really yummy. We even sliced up leftover chicken breasts and made it into chicken salad once.

And that is how you make Greek chicken that tastes just like a real Greek chicken peopleguy might make it! Enjoy!

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