Greek Chicken Cooked in Tomato-Kotopoulo Kokkinisto

Greek Chicken-Kotopoulo Kokkinisto

So I’m back! Every time this year I attend the Food and Nutrition Conference organized by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (former American Dietetic Association). As I am the President of the International Affiliate (American Overseas Dietetic Association), I attend the conference and participate in several of the activities there. I’ll be sharing my experiences in the next post, but for now I need talk about one of my favorite Greek meat recipes: Kotopoulo Kokkinisto. While I look forward to visiting the U.S., after a few days I do miss the tastes of Greece, and one of them is the kokkinista dishes. Kokkinisto, refers to the method of cooking in tomato sauce. Kokkino means red and kokkinisto mean reddened. A large number of dishes in Greece are kokkinista: almost all summer vegetables are cooked in a combination of tomato, olive oil, herbs and spices. Examples include okra, green beans and eggplant. But meats are often cooked in tomato sauce as well. Kotopoulo kokkinisto is a common favorite, and I remember both my grandmothers occasionally making this dish, usually on Sundays or other special occasions, by using their own chickens from the yard.

But apart from the flavor, this dish is healthy. Studies have shown that when tomato is cooked with olive oil, the absorption of lycopene in increased. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant that may protect from cancer and heart disease. Also it is important to know that even cooked tomatoes retain some of the vitamin C, and the presence of vitamin C from the tomatoes increases your absorption of iron from the meat. The amount of  olive oil used in this recipe is actually small, corresponding to less than a tablespoon per person, so you are getting a dish moderate in fat and rich in protein and antioxidants. I tend to add more tomatoes than usual so I can incorporate another serving of vegetables to the dish. This can be accompanied with potatoes or other starch such as pasta or rice. I used brown rice (cannot really tell in the photo), but sometimes we just make the chicken and accompany it with some salad and a slice of bread.

Greek Chicken Cooked in Tomato-Kotopoulo Kokkinisto

Serving Size: 3-4 servings

Greek Chicken Cooked in Tomato-Kotopoulo Kokkinisto

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pound chicken in pieces (with or without skin)-You can use a 3 lb. whole chicken and just double the amount of the rest of the ingredients.
  • 2 onions diced
  • 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 minced garlic cloves
  • 16-20 ounces diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 allspice berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. In a large deep pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the chicken pieces on both sides for about 8-10 minutes total.
  2. Set the chicken aside and sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients (tomato, cinnamon stick, all spice, bay leaf, salt and pepper) and about 1/3 cup of water and mix well. Add the chicken and blend.
  4. Cover the pan and let it simmer for about 45 minutes, until chicken is cooked.
  5. In the meantime, prepare your side dish (rice or pasta) or your salad.
  6. Serve warm.

 

Photo by Elena Paravantes © All Rights Reserved

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10 Comments

  • Reply R. Torres October 28, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    My mom used to make something very similar, but she called it “kapama.” She did not use allspice but added lemon juice and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese at the end. One of my all-time favorites!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD October 30, 2013 at 11:59 am

      Love the lemon juice idea! Yes, some people use the words kapama and kokkinisto interchangeably, others say kapama may have more s[ices, but basically food cooked in tomato sauce.

  • Reply FreeRangeNan October 29, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    A lovely, simple dish. I’ve been using your recipes for vegetables cooked with olive oil & tomato so I’m sure we’ll enjoy this as well. Do Greek cooks ever turn it into a one-pot meal by adding vegetables? I’ll bet okra would work well. Or potatoes, as the starch.

    If you leave the skin on the chicken, do you drain the fat after browning or use it to sauté the onion? Draining and adding fresh olive oil would be healthier, but schmaltz does add a lot of flavor!

    Most “cinnamon” sold in the US is actually cassia, which is stronger than true Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is more subtle and complex. Many cuisines favor one or the other, and it’s helpful to know which will give the more authentic flavor. Which is used in Greece?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD October 30, 2013 at 11:55 am

      Yes, definitely actually chicken cooked with okra is a very common combination.

  • Reply 5 Ways to Eat More Vegetables The Greek Way | Olive Tomato April 8, 2014 at 8:48 am

    […] is rich in lycopene an antioxidant that may protect from certain types of cancer. Go here and here for meat and fish recipes made with […]

  • Reply Here is What Greeks Eat Everyday That Protects Their Heart | Olive Tomato June 13, 2014 at 9:06 am

    […] winter vegetables are cooked with tomato such cauliflower, spinach, leeks as well as meat like the reddened chicken (kotopulo […]

  • Reply Glykeria July 19, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    my mom make it like this but she boil the orzo mix it after the kokinisto is ready put it in a pan with little feta cheese on top and put it in the oven for 20 minutes and you have giuvetsi

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD July 21, 2015 at 8:10 am

      Thanks for sharing Glykeria!

  • Reply 5 Ingredient Glazed Honey Lemon Chicken Legs | Olive Tomato - The Real Mediterranean Diet May 17, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    […] we will make it the classic way:  roasted with lemon and oregano with potatoes or my favorite: kotopoulo kokkinisto, which is chicken stewed in a pot with tomato and herbs and served with pasta or rice. But some […]

  • Reply Ricky Trimble May 17, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Does anyone have the Greek recipe called honey puffs??

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