Classic Greek Comfort food the whole family will love!
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Pastitsada, Corfu Chicken in tomato sauce with pasta, is a very popular and classic Greek dish in Corfu, Greece. It’s a hearty, warm chicken stew over a bed of pastitsio noodles, also known as bucatini in America. Because this is classic Greek comfort food, you can serve this any night of the week or at a dinner party with friends and family. Everyone will be impressed and feel at home.
What is the best cut of chicken to use in Pastitsada?
Traditionally, Pastitsada is made with braised veal, beef, or chicken. I like to use skinned chicken leg quarters in my chicken version because the dark meat stays nice and juicy while cooking. You could also use chicken thighs, but you wouldn’t want to use chicken breast because it would dry out after stewing a while. Also, I take the skin off because it stays soft when you stew it, and my family doesn’t care for that. It’s perfectly fine to leave it on if you like it.
Why this will become a classic with your family
- Warm cinnamon, clove, and allspice flavored tomato sauce
- Juicy chicken
- Buttery noodles
- Easy enough for a weeknight meal or a dinner party!
What makes Pastitsada so delicious
- Chicken quarters, bone-in, skinless
- Olive oil
- Small onions, finely chopped
- Garlic cloves, grated
- Can crushed tomatoes
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Bucatini pasta
- Grated Parmesan cheese for serving
- Finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Cinnamon stick
- Allspice berries
- Bay leaf
- Paprika (not smoked)
- Ground cumin powder
- Dried crushed oregano
Tips from my kitchen
I always start by browning the chicken to make sure that it has the most flavor possible. I do it in a few batches to make sure I get a good caramelization on the chicken. If you add too many pieces of chicken to the pan, it will steam the chicken. So, be sure not to overcrowd the pan.
When you add the onion and garlic, be sure to stir them together in the pot to help deglaze the pan. All of the delicious bits left in the pan from the chicken will add so much flavor to your sauce.
One way to always have grated garlic on hand is to put whole cloves in your food processor until minced. Scoop out the processed garlic and put it in a freezer baggy. Flatten the baggy and store it in your freezer. Break off a piece any time you need garlic.
My kids don’t like cinnamon in savory dishes, so I leave it out when making Pastitsada. I personally love it but do what your family likes best. Also, I usually use about a teaspoon of sugar to canned tomatoes for recipes to balance the acidity. You can try this as well.
How to make Pastitsada: Corfu Chicken in Tomato Sauce with noodles
- In a large pot that is heating over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and 3 of the chicken quarters. Brown them for 4-5 minutes on each side and set them aside on a plate. Do this in a few batches as not to overcrowd the pot.
- Add the chopped onion to the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Season lightly with salt and cook until soft and golden—about 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and warm through for a few seconds.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken, salt, pepper, and spices. Stir it all together and cover the pot.
- Cook over medium heat, making sure to stir it often. After about 45 minutes, the chicken should be fully cooked, and the sauce should thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Add the parsley and the dried oregano.
- Boil the pasta according to the package instructions.
- Serve the chicken stew over the pasta and then top it with lots of cheese.
I love butter on my pasta! So, when my pasta is done, I add lots of butter and top with lots of grated parmesan cheese. You can serve the pasta separately from the chicken, but traditionally the chicken is placed on top of the pasta with the sauce poured over the whole dish. Enjoy!
Try my Beef Pastitsada, too! So delicious!
- 6 chicken quarters, bone-in, skinless
- 1/4- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 4-5 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound bucatini pasta
- grated Parmesan cheese for serving
- 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 allspice berries
- 3 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon paprika (not smoked)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon dried crushed oregano
In a large pot that is heating over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and 3 of the chicken quarters. Brown them for 4-5 minutes on each side and set them aside on a plate. Do this in a few batches as to not overcrowd the pot.
Add the chopped onion to the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Season lightly with salt and cook until soft and golden. About 8 minutes.
Add the garlic and warm through for a few seconds.
Add the crushed tomatoes, the chicken, salt, pepper, and the spices. Mix it all together and cover the pot. Cook over medium heat, making sure to stir it often. After about 45 minutes the chicken should be fully cooked and the sauce should thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Add the parsley and the dried oregano.
Boil the pasta according to the package instructions.
Serve the chicken stew over the pasta and then top it with lots of cheese. Kali Orexi!
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