Monday, May 30, 2011

Greek Chicken

This cookbook is amazing.  One of my very favorites.  It is a Lexington original. 

My sister-in-law and I have a running conversation about this cookbook.  Neither of us can ever remember the actual title, so we just call it the "Bunny Cookbook."  Or just "the Bunny," for short.  You know, since it does have a bunny rabbit on the front of it and all.

Our conversations generally go something like this: "Last night I made this dish and it was so good!  You have to try it."  "Oh, where did you get the recipe?"  "The Bunny, of course."

You should invite the Bunny to come live at your house.  You'll be glad you did.

This Greek Chicken is inspired by a recipe from this cookbook.  It's just wonderful.  The book, that is.  And the Greek Chicken.

This Greek Chicken recipe is sauteed chicken breasts in a delicious, flavorful, garlic-oregano-and-sun-dried-tomato-feta-cheese-kalamata-olive-filled sauce.

You know how I am about sauce.

First we have to saute the chicken.  Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Take four boneless, skinless chicken breasts and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. 

When the oil is hot, lay the chicken in the pan and brown it on the first side.  This should take 3 minutes or so.  Flip it over.  We don't need to worry about cooking the chicken through because I like my chicken medium-rare. 

Kidding.  We'll put the chicken back in the sauce where it belongs in a minute and cook it all the way through.

Once your chicken is nice and browned on both sides, remove it from the skillet with tongs and lay it on a plate.  Turn the burner down to medium and sprinkle in a tablespoon of flour.  Whisk it around to combine it with the olive oil remaining in the pan.  If you need to add another dash of olive oil to make a paste with the flour, then so be it.  Cook it together for about a minute or so.  You just made a roux!  The roux will make the sauce nice and thick.

Now add in two cloves of garlic that you minced up.  Cook it another minute.  Now we're ready for the chicken stock.  About a cup. 

Bring it to a boil and there you have it:

The flavorful, rich stock we used and the browned bits on the bottom of the pan from the chicken turned it this dark color.  I can see pieces of garlic swimming around in there, too.  The start to a very nice sauce. 

Return the chicken to the sauce and cover the skillet.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook it for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  See?  I really was joking about medium-rare chicken.

When the chicken is done, turn off the heat.

Okay, now we're ready to flavor the sauce.  We're going to use really delicious Greek flavors: lemon, sundried tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, and oregano.


Squeeze in the juice of a whole lemon.  By all means, use an actual lemon and not juice out of a container in the freezer.  Thank you.  Slice up some sundried tomatoes and stir them in.  The dried, shriveled-up ones work well here because the sauce will reconstitute them, but the grocery moved them without telling me so I couldn't find them!  So I used the ones packed in oil which worked well too.  I took a picture of the neat ones that I bought but Blogger wouldn't let me load the picture for some reason so just imagine a jar of sundried tomatoes packed in oil.

In go the kalamata olives.  You can chop them up or leave them whole.  I had didn't feel like cleaning up olive parts and juice from my cutting board, so I just chunked them in whole.  I like the way they look when they're whole anyway.

Now the oregano.  Use dried oregano because fresh oregano is just a bit too overpowering.  I used this fancy oregano from the specialty food store:

Sometimes I like to pretend that Meijer is a specialty food store.

It's an issue I'm working through.

And now for the reason to make this dish:

Sprinkle a 4-oz container of crumbled feta over the top of the whole skillet of chicken and sauce.

Now we're ready to eat!

This is great served with couscous because it captures all of the wonderful sauce.  Or you can serve it with orzo, which is rice-shaped pasta, if you're not into couscous.  Or if your store moved couscous and didn't bother to tell you where they relocated it.  Or if you thought you had a box of couscous in your pantry and made this Green Chicken only to find out that you used your last box of couscous making a salad last week.

In any of those cases, use orzo.  It is a very good substitute.

Spoon some orzo (or couscous, if you're lucky) on your plate.  Place a chicken breast on top.  Then cover it up with the sauce, olives, sundried tomatoes, and feta.

Oh man is this good.

Greek Chicken
Adapted from Creating a Stir

1 T olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper for seasoning the chicken
1 T flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup of sliced sundried tomato (either packed in oil or dried)
1/3 cup kalamata olives
1 tsp dried oregano
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
10 oz. box of couscous, cooked according to package directions

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper on both sides.  Saute the chicken for about 6 minutes, turning halfway through, until the chicken is golden brown but not coked through.

Remove the chicken to a plate.  Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and whisk it around.  Cook it for about a minute.  Toss in the minced garlic.  Cook it about a minute.

Whisk in the chicken stock.  Bring it to a simmer and return the chicken to the skillet.  Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through but still tender and juicy.

Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice, olives, sundried tomatoes, oregano.  Sprinkle the feta cheese over the top.

Serve with couscous to catch the sauce.

And make your mom happy and make something green to go with it.


BWF said...

I love Greek dishes. Olives, sundried tomatoes, feta cheese, garlic...... what's not to like. Oh, & I want the Bunny cookbook too. I love good cookbooks!

John Pinkston said...

Hilarious...thanks for the shout out! I actually made this last week...and I am cracking up because after probably making it 3 or 4 times I just realized I have been making it my own way...dredging the chicken in flour and after browning it, adding the liquids to finish cooking...oops, delicious that way too!!

Elizabeth said...

How inappropriate to post a Greek dish on Memorial Day. I'll have to work on that. I was going to post shrimp & grits but it just wasn't quite ready.

Bethany - I'm with you! I love good cookbooks!

Katie - you are funny! Yeah, dredging is the way the original recipe reads...but I make a mess when I dredge anything! So I modified the original recipe...I left out the wine too.

Adrienne said...

YUM! I made this last night and it was very delicious! I had all the ingredients on hand except couscous or orzo, so I served mine with polenta.

Elizabeth said...

I'm so happy that you liked this Adrienne! Mmmm...polenta...hadn't thought of that idea! I'll have to try that! Yum!

Kate Marie said...

This looks soo yummy. Hope to try sometime.