This chicken stewed in garlic and cinnamon, called kota kapama, gets depth of flavor from wine, tomato paste, and Greek cheese. A classic recipe made inexpensively and easily from pantry staples. In other words, perfect cold weather food.
This traditional Greek recipe, known kota kapama, is essentially chicken stewed in garlic and cinnamon and onions, which creates an aroma just as knee-wobblingly enticing as you can imagine. Almost as compelling as the aroma is its rustic taste and the fact that you can toss it together with ease from inexpensive pantry staples. What results is meltingly tender onions and a sauce that boasts a beguilingly smoky sweet sorta thing going on. [Editor’s Note: Well, everything except for Greek cheese, but we have some ideas on what you can substitute for that in the recipe below.] The author, who grew up with this recipe, serves it with rice, orzo, or buttered noodles. Originally published May 1, 2004.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Chicken Stewed in Wine and Cinnamon
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 30 M
- Serves 4
- One (2 1/2 to 3 pound) chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cups coarsely chopped yellow onions
- 2 to 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups water
- 6 ounces store-bought or homemade tomato paste
- 1/2 cup grated Myzithra cheese (or substitute kasseri or freshly grated Romano)
- 1. Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels so they don’t spatter in the pan. Mix the cinnamon, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl and rub the chicken pieces on all sides with the mixture. Mince 3 of the garlic cloves and set aside.
- 2. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep, nonreactive skillet over high heat. A 12-inch skillet with sides about 3 inches high should allow you to brown all the chicken pieces at once. (If you don’t have a skillet large enough to cook all the chicken at once, don’t try to cram the chicken in your smaller pan. Instead brown the chicken in 2 batches, using 1 tablespoon of oil for each batch. If you crowd the pieces, the chicken will steam rather than brown.)
- 3. Add the chicken to the skillet and brown for 5 to 7 minutes per side, nudging the pieces with a metal spatula from time to time so the chicken doesn’t stick to the skillet. When the pieces are nicely browned on all sides, remove from the pan and set aside.
- 4. Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium-high and add the onions, minced garlic, and cinnamon sticks. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the onions have softened and are a rich golden brown. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula or spoon to deglaze, loosening any browned bits, until the wine has evaporated. Then add the water, tomato paste, and remaining 2 whole garlic cloves and return the chicken to the pan. The liquid should cover about three quarters of the chicken. Reduce the heat to low, cover skillet with a lid, and simmer for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is tender and thoroughly cooked.
- 5. Taste and adjust the sauce with more salt and pepper, if needed. If the sauce seems a little too thick, thin it with a little more water. Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks. Sprinkle the chicken with the grated cheese.