Hi. It's Nic here, once again invading Syrie's blog.
While Syrie and I both share the cooking in the house, we are not equals. When Syrie cooks, it is a celebration. When I cook, it's a bit of a lottery. I don't use recipes and I don't really even keep a mental tab of what I'm throwing into the pot.
So when, a little while ago, Syrie turned to me after eating a mouthful of a chicken dish I had just concocted and exclaimed how delighted she was, I was quite pleased with myself. She really meant it. My self-congratulation, however, was short-lived. Immediately after her compliment, she said, in an unmistakably threatening tone: "You had better remember how you made it." She really meant it. I was in trouble.
So, you can imagine how horrified I was, a few weeks later, when I had naively assumed that I was in the clear, when deciding what to have for dinner, she innocently said: "How about that Greek chicken dish you made recently?"
"What Greek chicken dish would that be, darling?" Her look eloquently, unmistakable said: "You know bloody well what Greek chicken dish and I want it for dinner and if I don't have it for dinner, you will find out exactly how a shish kebab feels."
So, gingerly, I stepped into the kitchen and tried to reconstruct a process I had completed effortlessly only a few weeks earlier, but now had nothing more than a dubious and muddy recollection of. I asked myself abstract and ultimately unhelpful questions like: "What would I do if I were me three weeks ago?"
Eventually, I managed to bluff my way through it and the result was to Syrie's satisfaction. This time, I was sure to take notes of what I was doing, and here they are. I should note that I was making extra for our lunch the next day, so this recipe will serve 4.
Greek chicken recipe (serves 4)
1kg boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
7 good-sized cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of fresh dill
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup natural yogurt
1/2 tbs chili flakes
1/2 tbs coriander seeds
1/2 tbs fennel seeds
1/2 tbs salt
1/2 tbs black pepper
1/2 lemon (juice of)
- Grind the coriander, fennel and pepper with a mortar & pestle;
- Finely chop the garlic and the dill. Leave aside 2 cloves worth of garlic for the Tzatziki;
- Mix the chicken and everything else in a big bowl and let it sit there until you get really hungry and just can't stand it anymore;
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius;
- Place the chicken in a Pyrex baking dish (skin side up);
- Bake for 40 minutes; and then
- Turn the grill on and blast it for 5 minutes or until the skin is golden-crispy.
Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking: "What is it about that chicken that is remotely Greek?" Good question. The truth is, I really don't know. I mean, the dill possibly... and the fennel I guess.
The fact is, cuisine gets a little bit mixed up in that Eastern Mediterranean region anyway. It could be anything, but it went very well with a Greek salad and Tzatziki so it was, by default, Greek.
1.5 cups of rice (I use Basmati)
3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp of fresh dill
1/2 tbs of butter
- Wash and drain the rice well.
- Melt the butter in a pot and then add the rice and stir to coat the grains.
- Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil then lower the heat and cover the pot with a lid.
- The rice should take about 10 minutes to cook.
- Once it's ready, stir through the dill and keep warm until the rest of the meal is ready.
Salad and Tzatziki
Now, I'm not going to bore you with a detailed process for these side dishes. They're very simple. While the chicken is cooking, you'll have plenty of time to whip them up.
- Get a large cucumber, peel it, seed it and dice it;
- Put it in a bowl with about 2 cups of natural yogurt;
- Add the 2 cloves of chopped garlic left over from your chicken prep;
- Add about 2 tsp each of fresh chopped mint and dill - maybe a pinch of ground fennel if you're that way inclined;
- Add about 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil;
- Stir it.
Spanish/ red onion
Feta (I like sheeps')
Kalamata olives (if you have them handy)
Bung them all together in a bowl, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and squeeze a lemon on top and Aesop's your uncle!