This is the Catsoulis family version, from the Greek island of Kythera.
- Chicken pieces (one per person)
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tin of tomatoes, or 300g of high-quality, fresh tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 bay leaves
- Half tablespoon of finely chopped, fresh parsley
- Half cup of red wine (shiraz)
- 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 carrot (cut into thick slices)
- 1 stick of celery (cut into thin 3" strips)
- Finely chopped celery leaves
- Quarter of a teaspoon of ground cloves
Heat oil in saucepan and add onion. Stir gently until onion is well browned. Add chicken, bay leaves and cinnamon and thoroughly brown chicken on all sides. The objective is to get as much "stock" from the skin as possible as this adds to the flavour later on.
Add tomatoes, garlic, wine and water, and cook through. Add parsley, celery leaves, celery, carrot. Pour on enough water to cover. Allow to cook slowly for at least two hours. It is important to cook over a low heat so that sauce does not catch. Stirring or agitation will only cause the vegetables and chicken pieces to break up.
Serve with thin spaghetti or vermicelli. Grate cheese generously over dish.
The fresher the ingredients, the better it will taste. It is important to get as much "stock" from the chicken as possible. This is the reason for leaving the skin and bone on, although too much skin will result in a ‘fatty’ dish. The chicken should be browned for at least 10 minutes before the tomatoes are added.
If wine is added, it should be a good wine. When wine is used in cooking, the alcohol boils off leaving only the taste of the wine, therefore a poor quality wine will do little for the flavour.
Don't be overgenerous when adding ingredients as an imbalance will shift the final result. In particular, strong sauces should only be used in small quantities.
An additional, small piece of pumpkin may be finely chopped and added to thicken the sauce. It will cook away completely but will enhance the flavour.