Kotopoulo Youvetsi

Baked Chicken with Orzo

THIS CHICKEN DISH is a common Sunday one-pot meal of the islands. In her wonderful taverna in Avgonima, Chios, Kalliopi Delios cooks homemade macaroni in the chicken-tomato stock. Orzo, elbow macaroni, ziti and penne rigate are good alternatives. This recipe is based on Kalliopi’s.

Ingredients

  • cup olive oil
  • 1 -pound free-range chicken or capon, cut into 6 pieces, or 6 turkey drumsticks
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups grated ripe tomatoes (see Note) or canned diced tomatoes with their juice
  • Salt
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock, plus more if needed
  • 1 pound orzo or elbow macaroni, cooked in plenty of boiling salted water for 2 minutes and drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup coarsely grated hard myzithra, kefalotyri, pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat and sauté the chicken or turkey in batches until golden brown on all sides. Set aside.

Add the onion to the pot and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, cinnamon stick, oregano, pepper or pepper flakes and tomatoes. Sprinkle the chicken or turkey with salt and return to the Dutch oven. Add about ½ cup stock, or enough to come about two-thirds of the way up the chicken or turkey. Bring to a boil, cover and transfer to the oven.

Bake for about 1½ hours, or until the meat is very tender. Transfer the chicken or turkey to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, bring the remaining 1½ cups stock to a simmer.

Add the stock to the cooking liquid, stir in the pasta and bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed, adding more stock if the pasta begins to dry out.

Place the chicken or turkey on top of the pasta and bake for another 10 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the parsley and cheese.

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