Kotopoulo Gemisto me Domata ke Feta

Chicken Stuffed with Tomatoes and Feta

THIS roasted stuffed chicken has all the flavors and aromas associated with the islands. Scented with plenty of garlic and oregano, the chopped-tomato-and-feta stuffing gives a wonderful taste to the chicken, while the juices from both the meat and the stuffing flavor the potatoes that roast alongside.

The recipe is adapted from one in Michalis Magoulas’s book The Cooking of Ithaca, which includes dishes that his mother and grandmother prepared on this lovely island in the Ionian Sea. Large quantities of garlic are used in the foods of Ithaca, perhaps more than anywhere else in Greece, flavoring all kinds of meat, chicken and fish dishes. (The local version of skordalia contains more than two dozen garlic cloves instead of the five or six of the more common version.)

To intensify the taste of the tomatoes, I added some sun-dried ones, but you can omit them if you use organic vine-ripened red tomatoes, which are full of flavor.

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Ingredients

  • 1 4-pound free-range chicken
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • cup chopped ripe or canned tomatoes, well drained
  • ¼ cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup crumbled or diced feta cheese
  • cup olive oil
  • 4–6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup sweet red wine, such as
  • Mavrodaphne or sweet Marsala
  • 2–2½ pounds very small new potatoes, scrubbed, or medium new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

Method

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Rub the chicken inside and out with the cut sides of the lemon. Salt lightly (not too much because the feta is salty) and sprinkle with black pepper.

In a medium bowl, mix the tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, feta, 3 tablespoons of the oil, the garlic, oregano and Aleppo pepper or pepper flakes. Stuff the chicken cavity with the tomato mixture and sew it closed with kitchen twine, or close with small skewers or toothpicks. Place the chicken, breast side down, in a baking dish that holds it snugly.

Roast for 20 minutes. Pour the wine over the chicken, reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue roasting for 20 minutes more. If the skin starts to color too much, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Place the potatoes in a single layer in a roasting pan. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Carefully pour the juices from the chicken over the potatoes and toss well. Place the chicken, breast side up, on top of the potatoes and roast for 40 minutes more, or until the juices run clear when you pierce the thigh. The potatoes should be tender and crusty on top. If they are not, transfer the chicken to a heated plate, cover with aluminum foil and keep warm while you bake the potatoes for a little longer. Transfer most of the sauce to a saucepan and cook for a few minutes to reduce, then pour into a bowl or sauceboat.

Place the chicken on top of the potatoes again, and take the food to the table in the baking pan. Remove the skewers or toothpicks and carve and serve the chicken, placing several tablespoons of the stuffing and some potatoes on each plate. Pass the sauce separately.

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