The Greekish Life
Eat & Drink
Easy Kokoras Kokkinistos
A quicker take on the classic chicken and hilopites dish
When I was growing up, every Sunday dinner was a version of the classic Greek comfort food - chicken and hilopites. My grandmother made her own style of the dish, with a whole roasted lemon chicken in one pan and the slightly tomato-y egg noodles in another. They were a fond and indelible childhood memory.
These are not those. For a very good reason.
NO ONE in our family has been able to replicate Yiayia's recipe. She was a bit cagey about giving out her recipe details, so while some of us in the family have tried, it's never been quite right. She also had a particular serving spoon she would use to measure out the tomato sauce, and no one knows the exact measurements of the Yiayia Spoon. It's a mystery, as the Yiayia Spoon has been lost to time.
Then, when I went to the Peloponnesos for the first time, I discovered a local Arcadian specialty called Kokoras Kokkinistos; literally "Reddened Rooster". It was amazing! It's become one of my favorite Greek dishes, and I get it whenever I can find it.
Our recipe is a quicker, easier version of that one, with a nod to my Yiayia's dish, too. I've substituted chicken for rooster, as it's so much easier to come by and doesn't need the long cooking time that the Arcadian recipe requires to get rid of the gaminess. Both the Arcadian recipe and my grandmother's version take hours to make.
If you've been on this site for a while, you know "hours to make" is not how I roll.
So I set out to do a speeded-up version, with the same flavor profile and comfort-food feel. Know that this is NOT the authentic recipe for this dish, but my own adapted version. While the meat will not fall off the bone like it would with the long-simmered original Kokoras Kokkinisto, it's still a really tasty meal, and a great option for the cold winter nights ahead.
If you can't find real hilopites, you can substitute regular egg noodles.
Easy Kokoras Kokkinistos
3 tablespoons extra virgin Greek olive oil for the pan, and another generous splash to finish
4 chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 rounded teaspoons tomato paste diluted in 1 cups water
2 cups hilopites (or regular egg noodles)
enough water to cover the chicken
grated mizythra or parmesan cheese
1. Add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot and heat over medium heat.
2. Add onion and stir. Let cook for about 5 minutes until onions start to soften.
3. Add the chicken breasts. Season each with a pinch of salt and pepper. Let cook on each side for about 5-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat, salting and peppering the other side, too. Chicken should only be cooked only most of the way; it will finish cooking later.
4. Pour in the water with the diluted tomato paste and raise heat to medium-high. The water should just cover the chicken. If you need to add a little more water to cover it, go ahead.
5. Add the hilopites. There should be enough water to just cover everything, so add more water if needed. If you like it a bit redder, you can add a touch more tomato paste.
6. Bring it all to a boil to cook the hilopites and finish cooking the chicken. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Do a taste test on the pasta and see if it's done cooking - if not, go another 5 minutes, adding a little more water if needed.
7. Add cinnamon and a few generous shakes of salt. Stir.
8. Drizzle some olive oil over the whole thing and stir, then plate the food. Serve with grated cheese and enjoy!
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