These days it's gotten colder and gloomier. Having gotten spoiled by the sun this summer, and enjoying light food due to the heat, I've missed a few all-time favourites. Hence, now the last few days that it's been getting cooler I found the opportunity to turn on the oven, and make this great one-tray dish.
Chicken is the most ever-present staple food in Greece, and the meat of choice for most Greeks. I still get surprised when people come to visit, and anywhere we go, no matter the cuisine, they will order the chicken out of everything else. Sweet and sour in Chinese restaurants, Tikka Masala in Indian, teriyaki in Japanese, whichever way sounds more Greek in Italian places and don't get me started about Lebanese, Turkish, Arabic restaurants and the like, which serve food almost identical to Greek anyway...
I don't have any gripes with chicken. It can be great if cooked properly, and I eat it gladly, but when I have the choice, I'll usually go for some more "exotic" meat. This is due to the fact that usually in Greece chicken is overcooked, overdry, and too chewy, and that heritage follows me closely, to the point that in most unfortunate occasions I've managed to ruin meals myself by being uncertain about its pinkness and overcooking it.
But this recipe...ah...it is amazing. Probably my favourite chicken recipe right now. It can be made with breasts or thighs (if you want extra-guaranteed meaty moistness) and because of the addition of the oil and wine, it doesn't dry up, and tastes wonderfully rich. The potatoes are also impregnated in the bacon and artichoke juices, and along with the wine they become this amazingly tender pieces of heaven!
Try it, seriously... Just drooling thinking about it. Maybe it's not that bad after all to have some "cold" days...
Roasted chicken with pancetta, artichokes and red wine
Source: Adapted from Waitrose Magazine (March/April 2008)
- 500g baby new potatoes
- 4 skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 4 tbsp paprika
- 280g jar chargrilled artichokes (I love the ASDA Extra Special ones)
- 140g pack pancetta cubes
- 75ml red wine (I usually use my leftover wine, but a fruity red works great)
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the potatoes in a pan filled with water, cover and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes, to part-cook them. Meanwhile, season the chicken breasts or thighs with salt and pepper and sprinkle the paprika on them, rubbing it in on all sides. Drain the artichokes into a bowl, reserving half the oil.
Put the pancetta in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat and fry until it starts to turn golden. Drain the potatoes and add to the pan, with a tablespoon of the artichoke oil, and continue cooking until they start to colour. Add the artichokes and give them a quick stir. Transfer to a roasting tray and arrange the chicken over the top of the potatoes. Pour over the red wine and the remaining artichoke oil and season generously.
Put in the oven and roast for 30 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked, there is no pink meat and the juices run clear. Remove the chicken from the tray and keep warm. Return the potatoes to the oven and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden. Return the chicken to the tray, turn off the oven and leave to warm up for a few minutes. Share the potatoes between 4 plates, place the chicken on top and drizzle with the pan juices.