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Youvetsi (wined chicken)

This is a dish that is easy to make and delicious. It is actually called “wined chicken” in the cookbook I referred to, but it is essentially “youvetsi” made on the stove instead of in the oven. I think it is a little like bringing a village restaurant to your kitchen table. Confession: I am always a bit intimidated when using wine in recipes because in the past, some dishes have come out as “warm red wine with something else”, which is gross. But, in fact, this recipe is quite easy to prepare and delicious although it takes a couple of hours to properly cook. I realised this after I put everything into the pot on a Friday night with a hungry second mouth to hand and sheepishly mentioned in passing that we needed to wait 1.5 hours before the meal was ready. Ah well, herein lies the advantage of cooking with wine. You can enjoy it while you wait! And I am happy to say it was definitely worth the wait.

Level of Difficulty: 2/5
Preparation Time: about 40 min
Cooking Time:  about 2 hours
Serves 4 to 6 people

3 tablespoons olive oil
5 chicken drumsticks (you can use chicken thigh pieces if you prefer)
1 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) of red wine
1 heaped teaspoon tomato paste
200g tin chopped tomatoes
1/4 cinnamon roll
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon all spice

hilopites, to serve
grated anari, to serve


1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan with high sides. Lightly fry the chicken on all sides.

2. Add the onion and fry, stirring often, until the chicken is golden brown. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. When it smells good, add the wine.

3. Simmer uncovered and stir occasionally until nearly all of the wine has evaporated. Then add the tomato paste, tomato and a tomato tin of water. Also add the cinnamon, bay leaf and allspice and a little more salt.

4. Cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a low temperature and simmer until the chicken is very tender.

5. Once the chicken is ready, boil some hilopites. Place some of the chicken on top and add as much anari on top as desired.

Taken and modified from Tessa Kiros’s cookbook “Food from Many Greek Kitchens”

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