Greek Chicken: Have A Good Day Cafe

Feta, the most popular of Greek cheeses, has P...Image via Wikipedia

The Have A Good Day Cafe children's book by Frances and Ginger Park  inspired me to share our family Greek Chicken recipe with you!

Right away what impressed me was the illustrator, Katherine Potter, who dedicated the book to:
"For my parents, who set the stage."

First Sentence:
Grandma is in the kitchen making a big pot of rice soup

About The Book:

Early each morning Mike and his family drive to the city with their food cart. They sell bagels and orange juice for breakfast, hot dogs, and pizza for lunch. Mike passes the time by drawing pictures and grandma sits in the shade, fanning herself and missing life back home in Korea.

One day two other food carts show up on the family's street corner. All summer long business dwindles away and Mike's worried parents start thinking about giving up their cart. Now it's up to Mike and Grandma to find a way to bring back their customers.

Brimming with warmth and love, The Have a Good day cafe is a tribute to the resourcefulness of new immigrants everywhere. Readers will be delighted by this mouth-watering celebration of family and culture.

***** stars! I love the illustrations and  Korean words introduced to us to learn!

Here's the article I wrote including my mom's Greek Chicken... enjoy!

"I have fond memories as a child sitting around the dinner table and eating my mother’s Greek chicken. Now it is my turn to share this wonderful family recipe with you. Come to my house for a proper trapezi (meal).

If you were in the villages of Greece, you would hear, "We will kill a chicken for you!" That is exactly what the Greeks would do to honor you. (I suppose that is true in most cultures as well). Chicken sprinkled with lemon juice and oregano will be baked Greek-style.

Greek Chicken 

1 roasting chicken, whole
1/4 c. olive oil
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 T. Oregano
1 lemon, juice only
Feta Cheese

Wash a whole chicken under cold running water. Under the skin of the breast and neck parts insert feta cheese. Then pour olive oil over the bird into a shallow 13 x 9 pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano. Bake at 400 degrees the first half hour.

A very hot oven at the beginning is the secret to a great tasting chicken. Then lower the temperature to 375 degrees and bake 1 1/2 hours longer. Remember to baste with lemon juice from 1 to 2 lemons during this time. Add a little bit of water to the pan if necessary.
When cooked, remove to the platter and enjoy!

Also, if you would like, you may want to add parboiled potatoes or rice and bake in the juice for the last 1/2 hour of the cooking time, providing your baking pan is large enough.
You can also use Manestra, also known as orzo, is a pasta, shaped like cantaloupe seeds. It's usually cooked in a meat sauce. Also, you can use 2 cups of long grain rice in place of the Manestra. Add some additional water to cover.

From village to village the Greeks add special sauces to their baked chicken. Peloponnesus chicken has an Avgholemono Sauce which is made from beating 3 eggs until thick. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, juice from 2 lemons and liquid from the chicken. Pour over the chicken and remove from heat immediately.

Chicken Breasts with Walnut Sauce 

Brown chicken breasts for 5 mins. Add 3 scallions, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 cup of mushrooms and 1 cup of water. Cook over low heat for 25 minutes until tender.
Remove chicken from pan. Mix in 1-ounce brandy, 1 cup yogurt or sour cream and 1/2 cup of ground walnuts, adding a little more water if a more liquid sauce is desired. Pour over breasts and serve on a bed of rice pilaf.

Chicken Taverna with Tomatoes 

Basically, you add 1 2-pound can of whole tomatoes or 1 cup tomato puree diluted with 2 cups of water. Thinly slice 1 onion and add to the pot, 1 Tablespoon oregano, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1 teaspoon savory, 1 bay leaf and 1/2 cup red wine. Bring to a boil.
Prepare the whole chicken the same as Greek Chicken using olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, oregano and feta cheese, if you like. Then pour the cooked tomato sauce mixture over the chicken in your large, shallow pan.

A tapsie is a large shallow baking pan similar to a 13 x 9 pan. It is one of the handiest cooking utensils found in the Greek kitchen. One sees it in tavernas where large amounts of food are cooked. Not only is this recipe cooked in a tapsie, but so are all the sweet pastries such as baklava or Custard Pie Galactoboureko.

Remember to bake the chicken in a hot oven of 400 degrees for thirty minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 350 or 375 degrees and continue baking for 1 or 1 1/2 hours more.
Serve over a bed of rice pilaf or add any kind of pasta, 6 or 8 peeled and quartered potatoes or 2 cups of long grain rice in the sauce with 2 cups hot water for the last 1/2 hour of cooking time.
Kali Orexi... Good appetite!"

-- LadyD

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” — C. S. Lewis

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