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Chicken Sartsa

This is total comfort food and a classic recipe from the island of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea. What makes this dish special is the addition of large cubes of Greek cheese, which melt slightly and turn this otherwise simple tomato-baked chicken into something soothing and irresistible!
Course dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Greek, Greek cuisine, Mediterranean diet
Keyword chicken, comfort food, Diane Kochilas, Greek cheese, Greek food, Greek wine, Ionian islands
PREP TIME 15 minutes
COOK TIME 1 hour 25 minutes


  • ¼ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 cups peeled seeded chopped plum tomatoes (canned are fine)
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 pounds chicken parts wings, breast, legs, thighs
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cubed graviera or kefalograviera cheese


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and cook the onions and garlic, stirring, until wilted, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and season with salt. Simmer, covered, until the sauce begins to thicken, about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar and simmer another 5 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F/170C. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the parts in a ceramic or ovenproof glass baking dish and pour the sauce over and around the chicken parts. Add enough water so that the liquid comes about a third of the way up the chicken. Bake until tender, 45 to 55 minutes, basting every 15 minutes or so to keep the meat moist. Ten minutes before removing from oven, add the cheese cubes to the dish. The cheese should be in oozing chunks when the dish is served. Serve hot, accompanied by feta mashed potatoes.