My Big (Not so Fat) Greek Dinner

What a weekend!  The Mr. and I decided to have a “parents’ of a toddler” movie night which, predictably, resulted in a DVD viewed in an utter state of exhaustion, on the living room sofa.  Nonetheless, we loved pretending that we were out, skipping through back streets of Tribeca or a new gentrified Brooklyn neighborhood (filled with hipsters who raised the rents of all indigenous residents).

Last night, we took another risk and deviated from our routine of a quiet Sunday night in by going out to dinner at a Greek restaurant – Ovelia in Queens.  Did you know that a Greek, Archestratos, wrote the first cookbook in history in 320 B.C.?  Hence, the olive/wine/wheat diet has been integral to our foodie existence for over 4000 years.

Ovelia was not quite a lesson in history but it did feature traditional Greek cuisine in a modern twist.  Two particularly outstanding dishes were fried feta cubes (coated in a crispy black and white sesame batter and drizzled with honey) and stuffed chicken (with green and red peppers and feta cheese).  The food was fresh, prepared with lots of care and love, and oozing with  Mediterranean ingredients.

In honor of Ovelia, I am inspired to prepare an “Americanized” version of the stuff chicken dish via Martha Stewart’s recipe.  What do you think?

Chicken with Feta Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine feta and oregano. Make a pocket in chicken breasts: Holding chicken flat with palm of one hand, make an incision in thicker side of each breast with a paring knife. Carefully pivot the knife to create a deep pocket, keeping the other side of the chicken breast intact. Stuff pockets with feta mixture, dividing evenly; generously season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook until browned on both sides, 6 to 7 minutes per side.
  3. Cover skillet, and continue cooking until chicken is opaque throughout and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 160 degrees. about 5 minutes more. Remove chicken to a platter, and keep warm.
  4. To the skillet, add chicken stock, and cook, stirring up brown bits with a wooden spoon until reduced slightly. Add lemon juice and butter. Reduce the heat to low, and swirl pan until butter is melted, and sauce is slightly thickened. Serve chicken drizzled with sauce.
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