Greek cuisine has an abundance of hearty and healthy one-pot meals and this simple Chicken and Peas dish is no exception.
One-Pot Greek Chicken and Peas
The benefits of a Mediterranean diet have been known for quite some time. What isn’t as well known is how prominent vegetables are in Greek cuisine. Traditionally, the Greek diet is guided by religious observances such as fasting whereby animals products, including by-products, are avoided. For this reason, there are many Greek meals where vegetables are not used as a supplement to other types of food, but served on their own as a complete meal or with some meat added. What these dishes have in common is the use of plenty of olive oil.
My One-Pot Greek Chicken and Peas dish is a typical Greek peasant-style dish. It uses just a few simple ingredients and transforms them into something special with little effort. Drumsticks are the preferred cut and the fact that they are cooked on the bone just adds to the flavour. Sometimes, l may throw a couple of wings into the pot as well. This is the type of dish that is eaten warm; in fact it tastes better if it is not piping hot.
The combination of olive oil, tomatoes and onions together create a rich red sauce that gives this dish a bit of a sweet edge. It is important to cook the chicken and the peas together so that the peas fully absorb the flavours of the chicken and the sauce. Because they are cooked this way, the peas are not going to be a vibrant green colour; they will appear slightly duller. It’s a matter of sacrificing looks for flavour.
While it is preferable to harvest your own peas as many gardeners do in Greece, convenience usually takes over in my home which is why l tend to use frozen peas; but not all frozen peas are the same. There are some brands whereby the peas are a little dry. For this reason, l tend to buy baby peas.
Rice or baked potatoes on the side (as shown in the photograph) really go beautifully with this dish. I love to mash my baked potatoes a little and mix through some of the sauce. Just divine!! If there are any leftovers, remove the meat from the chicken and mix it through hot pasta; and you have a whole new dish!
Preparation Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes Serves: 4
- 4 chicken drumsticks (Note 1)
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup hot chicken stock (Note 2)
- 1 x 400 g (15 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
- 500 g (1 lb) peas
- salt, pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp parsley
- Heat the olive oil over moderate heat in a medium saucepan.
- Reduce the heat and add the onions and sauté until they are soft and transparent (about 8 – 10 minutes). Reduce the heat further if onions begin to brown.
- Turn the heat up to moderate and add the drumsticks. Sauté until the drumsticks are brown on all sides.
- Add the tomato paste and coat the drumsticks well. Continue sautéing for a further 2 minutes to cook out the rawness of the paste.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, stock and peas. Season to your liking. Bring to the boil, then reduce and simmer (between low -moderate heat) with the lid off for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove a drumstick and carefully pierce it with a knife at its thickest point to check if it is ready. (Note 3)
- Serve at room temperature with a little parsley sprinkled on top.
- I remove the end (knobby) part of the drumsticks mostly for convenience as they tend to fit more snugly in my saucepan. I also think they look better that way when served.
- The convenience of chicken stock powder is hard to resist. I use 1 tsp of stock powder to 1/2 cup of hot water.
- The temperature of the stove needs to create a simmer with a few bubbles rising to the surface (not a boil). Once everything is added to the saucepan, it may seems like there is not enough liquid. The chicken drumsticks will release their own juices as they cook.
Many dishes have a ‘star’ ingredient, but for this one, l just can’t choose between the juicy chicken drumsticks or the sweetness of the peas.