Chicken Stifado

Jun 9, 2019 | Dinner, Kid Approved

Stifado is the Greek version of comfort food. It’s a rich dish full of onions, wine, and spices. It’s super easy to make. Like a stew, you throw everything in a pot. Then, cook it until the meat is so tender it’s falling apart. My grandmother often made chicken or beef stifado in the winter, when I was growing up. But my clearest memory of eating stifado was on a winter trip to the gorgeous mountain village of Arachova, pictured below.

After traipsing up what seemed like a thousand steps, my mother and I found a cozy little restaurant with a wood burning fireplace. They made hilopites (Greek noodles) from scratch and served them with a generous portion of stifado heaped on top. Now, when I make this dish, and the air grows heavy with the scent of cinnamon, wine, and clove, it takes me back to the grey skies and wet stone streets of one of Greece’s most beautiful mountain villages.

Chicken Stifado

Serves 4

6 chicken thighs (about 1lb. 8ounces)

1 cup red wine, such as Cabernet

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, halved

2 bay leaves

6 juniper berries

½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns

3 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon dried oregano

About 2 sweet cippolini onions (4 cups total), roughly chopped

4 tomatoes, diced

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon tomato paste

 1 cup water

Place the chicken thighs in a large Ziploc bag and marinate overnight with the wine, vinegar, garlic, bay leaf, juniper berries, peppercorns, clove and cinnamon.

To prepare the stifado, cut the onions into thickly diced chunks. In a large pot, cook the onions in the olive oil over medium heat. Add the salt, sugar, and a pinch of freshly ground pepper. Cook the onions until they turn slightly golden, this will take about 15 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and oregano. Cook for another five minutes. Add the marinated chicken, along with all the spices and wine. Pour in one cup of water and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 1 ½ – 2 hours. Add additional salt a pepper, if desired.

Serve the stifado on top of orzo pasta that has been lightly buttered. For an authentic Greek flavor, I suggest browning the butter. Garnish with a pinch of parsley and parmesan before serving.  

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