A Greek version of chicken cacciatore is stewed in tomato sauce much as the Italian classic, but the seasonings are quite different, we learned from two cooks who shared their recipes to help D.L. celebrate her great-uncle's 75th birthday. The only clue he'd given her was that the dish was made with chicken, tomatoes and lemon and served over pasta.
"My family is of Greek descent, so I am familiar with Greek cooking," wrote Tonia Papandropoulos. "I recognize the description of the chicken dish as it is very common in Greek cuisine and is called kotopoulo kokkinisto. The only part of the description that I do not know about is the inclusion of lemon in the recipe. Lemon can always be added by the person making the dish or by the person enjoying it."
Lou Midelas, whose parents immigrated from Greece to Tarpon Springs, Fla., 60 years ago, sent a similar recipe, but his involves sprinkling the chicken with the juice of a lemon before browning it. He also uses a stick of butter rather than the olive oil in Papandropoulos' recipe, and he titles the dish kapama. "We like it over spaghetti, orzo or roasted potatoes," he writes.
Greek Chicken With Red Sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 chicken (about 3 pounds), cut into serving pieces
1 cup red wine
2 cups fresh or canned chopped tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick
2 to 3 whole allspice berries
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in a large pan and saute the onion over medium heat. Add the chicken, and brown on all sides. Add the wine and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, allowing it to reduce. Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, allspice, bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Partly cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, chicken is extremely tender. Add a small amount of water if the sauce becomes too dry. Remove cinnamon stick, allspice berries and bay leaves before serving. Makes 8 servings, with lots of sauce to serve over pasta.
Per serving: 413 calories (68 percent from fat), 31 g fat (6.8 g saturated, 17 g monounsaturated), 87.4 mg cholesterol, 22.3 g protein, 31 g carbohydrates, 0.7 g fiber, 178 mg sodium.