Greek Chicken with Tomatoes and Feta
5.13.10 § 6 Comments
I graduated from Duke University a year ago on Monday. More than anything, after a full year away, I miss Durham. Is it weird that I’m homesick for a place that isn’t really my home? There were so many things to love about Durham, a fact that, living in a Duke bubble, it took me far to long to figure out. That may be one of the reasons I cling so fiercely to my three Foster’s Market cookbooks. That and the fact that they’re wonderful.
I won’t go into a long explanation about everything that makes these cookbooks (or the restaurant itself) great. If you went to Duke or have spent time in Durham, you already know. If you haven’t – you should. These three cookbooks (which I purchased for my mother after many meals at Foster’s, then re-purchased for myself when she wouldn’t let me steal her copies) are really what inspired me to learn how to cook. I’ve tried almost all of the recipes and have rarely disliked one.
I decided to make this particular chicken dish last week when my mom told me she had gotten a question from someone about using wine when cooking. I immediately laughed, thinking of the sign in my kitchen that says “I cook with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.” I do cook with wine often, and occasionally, there really is wine in this recipe. Here it’s used in the marinade, which is pictured above. (Only a cup of it though, so you’ll still have plenty left over for other uses…) When you’re making this, be sure to reserve the marinade because you’ll use it to make the sauce. Believe me, I’ve felt that moment of panic that occurs when you realized you’ve thrown away a crucial ingredient—you definitely want to avoid it.
This dish is really reliable. I’ve made it for more than one dinner party, including a meet-the-parents occasion—it has never failed to impress. The taste is best when you can get ripe tomatoes at the farmer’s market (obviously), although when there isn’t another option, on-the-vine tomatoes from the grocery store will do. One thing you shouldn’t substitute if you can help it is the basil. I made it with dried basil this last time because I couldn’t find fresh. It definitely wasn’t as good.
I’ve also made it a few times without the olives—surprisingly, I know quite a few people who don’t like them—but I definitely prefer the dish with them (I could write a whole post about my feelings on picky eaters, but I’ll spare you for now). The olive flavor is amazing in contrast with the creamy feta and the summery basil.
So back to my original point. If you’re interested in cooking and need some awesome cookbooks to get you started, I recommend Sara Foster’s stuff. You really can’t go wrong.
Greek Chicken with Tomatoes and Feta
adapted from Fresh Every Day: More Great Recipes from Foster’s Market
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1½ pounds)
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup dry white wine (Chenin Blanc works well)
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano, plus more for garnish
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
6 tomatoes (on-the-vine or plum), diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup pitted Greek olives, chopped
6 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips, plus more for garnish
2-3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Rinse the chicken breasts under cool water, pat them dry with a paper towel, and place them in a shallow dish to marinate. Make marinade by combining lemon zest and juice, wine, and oregano with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over chicken and rub into all sides. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. (Bring to room temperature before cooking.)
Heat olive oil and butter in large skillet on medium-high until butter melts. Remove chicken from marinade and place in skillet. Reserve the marinade. Cook chicken, turning once, for 4 to 5 minutes a side, until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
Add onion and tomatoes to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until onion is soft and tomatoes soften and release liquid, bout 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté one minute more, stirring constantly. Add reserved marinade and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 3 minutes, until reduced slightly. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Return the chicken to the skillet with the sauce. Add the olives and basil, simmer on low for 6 to 8 more minutes, until cooked through.
Transfer chicken to plates, spoon sauce over each brest. Garnish with the feta and additional basil and oregano. Serve immediately.