Kotopoulo me Kythonia - Chicken Braised with Quince


This Greek recipe is one of the great one-pot dishes of the Eastern Mediterranean, and a classic on the island of Chios, the cooking of which was inspired and influenced by the aromatic dishes of the Greeks of Asia Minor, present-day Turkey, almost a stone’s throw from this island’s shores. In Greek cooking, quince is made into preserves and jams but also cooked as one would cook a potato.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium to large quinces
  • Strained fresh juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 medium-size frying chicken (3 ½ to 4 pounds), cleaned and quartered
  • Flour seasoned with salt and pepper for dredging
  • 4 tablespoons lightly salted butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red or yellow onion peeled, halved, and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled cored, chopped plum tomato (about 10 tomatoes)
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar depending on sweetness of quinces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

Instructions

  1. Peel, halve, and core the quinces and let stand in enough cold water to cover plus the juice of half a lemon to keep from discoloring. When ready to use, drain and pat dry.
  2. Heat a tablespoon each of butter and olive oil in a wide pan or skillet and cook the onions until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Lightly dredge chicken in seasoned flour and shake off the excess. Add two tablespoons each of butter and olive oil to the same pan. Carefully place chicken pieces in the pan, raise heat to medium, and brown the chicken on all sides.
  4. Add the onions back to the pan, and then add the tomatoes, cinnamon, sugar, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Add enough water so that the liquid comes about halfway up the chicken. Swirl in the tomato paste. Cover and simmer until the chicken is done, about an hour.
  5. In the meantime, heat the remaining butter and oil in a large wide frying pan and lightly brown and soften the quince slices. About 15 minutes before the chicken is done, add the quince to the pan. Sprinkle in the mint, test for salt, and remove from heat. Serve.

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