It was one of those restaurants that has menus, but as I observed they were merely used as an addition to the somewhat bleak decor. Nothing could have prepared me for what came after my simple question of, “What do you have today?” Like a stage performer regurgitating lines, I was assaulted by about 50-60 different items, all rattled off at typical machine-gun Greek speed. Resisting the urge to ask the server to repeat himself I settled on something I firstly recognized, and secondly I knew was extremely tasty. (My friend with me ordered fried liver!?) In short order, I had a huge plate of Greek style Coq aux Vin placed in front of me on the rustic table. Differing from the French, Greeks usually braise the male bird in white rather than red wine, resulting in a tender, lighter flavoured dish better adapted to the sweltering heat. I tucked in, and my mouth and mind were transported to a place of perfection. So with these flavours still swimming in my head I thought I would give you an opportunity to experience a really good piece of chicken.
What you need:
- 1 good sized roasting/braising chicken cut up (traditionally this is a rooster)
- 2 medium sized sweet onions
- 1 bunch of green onions, bottoms only
- 1 eggplant diced (traditionally mushrooms are used, but I didn’t have any)
- Olive oil for frying the eggplant
- A good handful of kalamata olives
- 1 bottle of good white wine (I used a barrel fermented chardonnay. Remember, if you use a thin wine you will have a bland and thin sauce.)
- A handful of fresh herbs, I used rosemary, oregano and sage, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
How it’s done:
- In a little of the olive oil brown the chicken.
- Remove the chicken, add more oil and fry the eggplant until brown.
- Place the chicken, onions, eggplant, and olives in a roasting pan.
- Cover with the wine (you may not need the whole bottle.)
- Top with the herbs and a little salt and pepper.
- Cover and braise in the oven for about 40-45 min at 200C until the chicken is soft and done, but not falling off the bone.
- Remove the lid and continue to cook for another 15 min to crisp up the skin and to brown the onions.
- At this point remove the chicken and vegetables and if so desired continue to reduce the sauce until sticky.
- Serve the chicken and vegetables with rice or atop baby potatoes.