Stifado is a thick, onion-y Greek stew perfect for chilly nights when you want a cozy dinner! Though stifado is often made with beef or lamb, I have chosen to create a chicken stifado, adding artichokes to mix and wrapping it all up in a thick, rich tomato and wine based sauce. Yum!
This year March has been all about comfort food for me! Maybe it’s that it continues to be cold around here or all the nor’easters we’ve been having, but I can’t get enough stews and braises.
Today I have a chicken stifado, which is a Greek stew; last week I posted beef burgundy, a French stew; and I’ve been working on a braised brisket (next week!). Go back a little farther in my posts and I made a beef short rib ragu for some Italian comfort food. Soon enough I’ll be changing gears and working on lighter, spring food, but I think we have time for few more more cozy, warming dinners.
And, in a way, this Greek chicken stew bridges the gap. It’s rich and meaty and brings everything together in a tomato wine sauce, which is all great for wintery comfort food, but it’s also full of artichokes and chicken is a lighter, quick-cooking meat, which gives the meal more of a springlike feel. No braising for hours here! This meal takes about 30 minutes to cook.
But not 30 minutes to make since you will be marinating the chicken overnight. 🙂
Do you need to marinate chicken stifado?
You may not have to braise chicken stifado for hours, but you will still have to plan ahead. I’ve tried this recipe both with marinating the chicken and with not, and marinated wins by a long shot. Since it’s such a quick recipe you need to let the wine flavor the chicken before you start cooking.
Luckily, it’s easy to take care of! All you need is a little wine, a few herbs, some olive oil and the chicken. Put everything together in a bag and let it rest in the fridge, at least through the day if not from the night before.
Once you’ve marinated, it’s time to get things in gear and prep everything else. And by that I mean onions.
Onions, so many onions!
If you want to save some time, get a few large onions and chop them up. I won’t tell. 🙂
However, using lots of small onions is the traditional way to make stifado. It is time consuming, but whole (or halved) little onions keep more of their onion flavor and have a firmer texture than ones which have been chopped up and softened as the stew has braised.
Either way, don’t skimp. Stifado should be about half onions.
Exactly which onions you use will depend on what is available when you go to the store and whether you want them to be bite-sized or need to be cut at the table. As with the chicken, which I chopped up, I wanted bite-sized so I used cipollini onions, but any small onion will do – baby shallots, pearl onions, boiler onions – these are all good!
Once I was done peeling the onions, I wanted to keep the rest of the stew simple. Canned baby artichokes to make it more of a complete meal, some sliced black olives for a great flavor punch, and couple of cups of chopped tomatoes.
I do want to talk a little about the tomatoes. For many years I used canned chopped tomatoes for any recipe where I needed chopped tomatoes. And, since they contain calcium chloride which is used to keep the tomatoes firm, they’re great when you want your tomatoes to stay in whole pieces! But what if you don’t? Hmmm.
In this recipe I wanted the tomatoes to melt into the sauce, so I switched the tomatoes to my new favorite brand: Pomi. (No, Pomi is not paying me! Though they should totally call me. 🙂 ) Pomi contains tomatoes…and that’s it! No citric acid, no water, no calcium chloride, not even any salt. I added a link to Amazon, but I have found the brand in every supermarket around here, so see if you can find it in the wild.
– Happy Cooking, Annemarie
Greek Chicken Stifado (Stew)
Red Wine Marinade
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 12-15 baby onions such as shallots, pearl onions, or cipollini; peeled and halved or quartered
- 10 medium cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1 14-oz can baby artichokes, quartered
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Mix together all marinade ingredients. Trim and dice the chicken into bite sized pieces. Add the marinade and the chicken to a large sealable bag. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours.
- Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Take the chicken out of the marinade (reserving the marinade) and brown the chicken on all sides. Once the chicken is browned, remove it to a plate.
- Add the shallots to the pot and cook until browned and softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add the tomato paste and stir it in. Let the tomato paste caramelize for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the reserved wine marinade and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes and artichokes. Bring to a boil then lower the heat so that the stew is simmering. Simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
- Return the chicken to the pot and add in the lemon juice and olives. Simmer until the chicken is completely cooked through. Sprinkle the stew with chopped parsley and serve over cooked orzo, rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles.
- I used Pomi Chopped Tomatoes. This brand has no tomato juice or calcium chloride added. (Or anything else - it's just tomatoes.) This means the tomatoes melt into the sauce instead of remaining separate chunks.
- Most of the active prep time involves peeling the onions. If you wish, switch to using ~3 chopped large white onions instead.