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What’s cooking today: Chicken braised with cinnamon a...



What’s cooking today: Chicken braised with cinnamon and tomato

Kota kapama, or Greek chicken with cinnamon and tomato. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

This dish is called Kota Kapama in Greece, where it is a family staple. It is made with a whole chicken, dissected, but of course you can buy portions such as drumsticks and thighs if you like. But rather take the challenge of breaking down a whole bird; it’s a skill most cooks used to have, and one worth having. The carcass can be used to make your own chicken stock.


This recipe accompanies this column


1 whole chicken, dissected into 8 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, and 2 breasts)

2 medium onions, chopped

3 or 4 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1 cup chicken stock

2 small cinnamon sticks

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 bay leaves

100 ml tomato paste

1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes

1 tsp sugar (or honey)

Salt to taste

Ground black pepper to taste

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp butter or ghee (clarified butter)

½ cup finely grated Grana Padano

Parsley, chopped, to garnish

Cooked and drained orzo or other noodles, buttered (I used linguine)


Clean and dry the chicken and dissect into 8 pieces.

Season each piece with salt and pepper and sprinkle ground cinnamon all over.

Heat the ghee/butter and olive oil in a skillet or cast-iron frying pan and brown the pieces well on all sides. Remove to a container and keep aside.

Add the onions and then the garlic to the pan and sauté, stirring, until softened. Stir in the tomato paste and sauté, stirring, for 2 minutes to take the sharpness off the paste.

Add the tomatoes, sugar or honey (to balance the acidity of the tomatoes), cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, chicken stock, taste and adjust seasoning, give it a stir, and then coat the chicken pieces in the sauce. Bring it to a gentle simmer, cover, and let it cook gently for about an hour or until the chicken is perfectly tender.

Serve on buttered noodles such as orzo, or Italian noodles such as tagliatelle or fettuccine or whichever type of pasta you have to hand. Once cooked and drained, quickly toss the pasta in melted butter before serving.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley and finely grated cheese. DM/TGIFood 

To enquire about Tony Jackman’s book, foodSTUFF (Human & Rousseau) please email him at [email protected] 

SUBSCRIBE: Our Thank God It’s Food newsletter is sent to subscribers every Friday at 6pm, and published on the TGIFood platform on Daily Maverick. It’s all about great reads on the themes of food and life. Subscribe here.


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