Chicken Kapama is a Greek classic! It’s basically a braised cinnamon chicken in a nice sauce that you can serve over pasta or rice for a great weeknight meal.
Let’s go over the ingredients:
- a whole chicken in pieces
- black pepper
- ground cinnamon
- olive oil
- tomato paste
- pureed can tomatoes
- crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- fresh parsley
Cinnamon is very common in Greek cooking, especially added to tomato-based dishes. It just goes so well with tomatoes and creates a very nice flavor combination.
Easy Greek-style braised chicken
You’re going to begin by using a chicken that’s anywhere between 3 1/2 to 4 pounds. Don’t forget to pat the skin dry after rinsing. This will really help to get a good caramelization on the chicken when you brown it, adding to the flavor of the dish.
Have a pot over medium-high heat and we’re going to do this in two to three batches depending on the size of the pot that you have. You don’t want to overcrowd the pot because the chicken won’t brown.
When you’re done browning the chicken, it’s time to start the sauce. Make sure that you reduce the heat to medium-low so the onions and garlic don’t burn. And since the garlic is grated, you don’t want to cook it too much. It will quickly become bitter and can ruin the dish.
Get the rest of your ingredients in the pot, including all of the juices from the chicken. You don’t want to waste any of that delicious flavor. Tomato paste is going to deepen the flavor, and I love crushed red peppers flakes.
The sugar is going to help balance the acidity of the tomatoes, but you can leave it out. You can also substitute honey if you like.
Give everything a nice mix and reduce the heat to low. Cover it and let it cook for an hour.
After an hour, remove the lid, increase the heat to medium, and let it cook for another 30 minutes to thicken the sauce.
Make sure to monitor it! Stir it occasionally so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Just carefully mix it and try not to break the chicken. It’s going to be really tender. Almost falling off the bone.
Try the sauce during this time. If it’s too acidic, you can add a little bit more sugar or honey. I chopped up some fresh parsley to add at the end of cooking. Gently stir it in or even shake it into the sauce.
How to serve Chicken Kapama?
So, I like to serve it over pasta. I sprinkle al dente pasta with some grated parmesan cheese, then put the chicken and sauce on top.
But you can serve it over pasta, rice, or potatoes. Mashed potatoes are really nice with this. You can use any shredded cheese you like or just not use it. Any way your family likes it best.
The chicken is so tender. All of the flavors come together beautifully. You’ll be so surprised how well the cinnamon melds into this chicken Kapama. Let me know if you cook savory dishes with cinnamon in your culture!
I love helping you cook in your kitchen. So, watch my class on Chicken Kapama below. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
- 1 chicken, 3-4 pounds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 28 ounces canned tomatoes, unflavored and pureed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ to 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 2-4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1-pound pasta, cooked al dente
- ½ cup grated Parmesan or Kefalotyri cheese, for serving
- Cut the chicken into about 10 pieces. Wash and pat dry. Season both sides with cinnamon, salt and black pepper.
- Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a pot and brown the chicken (in 2-3 batches) about 4 minutes on each side. Set the chicken aside.
- Reduce the temperature to low and add the chopped onions to the pot. Cook for about 10 minutes or until very soft. Add the grated garlic and stir just until heated through.
- Add the chicken with all of its juices back into the pot along with the pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, cinnamon sticks, salt, pepper, oregano, and sugar. Mix to combine.
- Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot with the lid and simmer for one hour.
- Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium. Cook uncovered for an additional 30 minutes so that the sauce thickens. Taste the sauce and add more salt (and sugar if acidic) if needed.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and serve over pasta and grated cheese.
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