This is another recipe handed down to me by my mother. My grandmother or mom would make this for us ALL the time growing up. It was definitely one of my favorites because the chicken was tender and the flavorful sauce was poured over the meat and starch (either spaghetti, rice or french fries). Now it is my son’s favorite Greek chicken dish and that’s saying something since he is the pickier of my two kids.
Crucial to the kokkinisto game is searing the chicken to lock in the juices. And please do not try to move the chicken pieces once you have placed them in the pot/pan. They will stick to the pan and tear. Once the chicken can be moved easily, that’s when you flip them to brown the other side. You can use bone in thighs, drumsticks or a whole chicken cut up into pieces. We typically do boneless thighs or drumsticks.
The wine is used for flavor but also to deglaze the pot and get all those flavorful brown chicken bits up and off and into the sauce. The other super important part is the cinnamon, all spice and cloves. Many people call this dish Greek Cinnamon Chicken
Kota Kokkinisti (Greek Cinnamon Chicken)
- Rinse and pat dry your chicken thighs with paper towels. Season your flour with some salt to taste. Place the chicken in a bowl and sprinkle with the seasoned flour and toss to coat the pieces.
- Heat a large pot and once hot, sear your chicken for 1-2 minutes per side. Do not touch them or try to move the pieces until ready to flip over or else they will stick and tear. You'll know they're ready to flip when they are easily movable.
- Once chicken is browned on both sides, add the wine to the pan to deglaze with a spoon or spatula – get all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan- that's the flavor.
- Next, add the olive oil and onion and gently toss around for two minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, paste, cinnamon, all spice, cloves, salt and pepper to taste, sugar and warm water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste the sauce and adjust salt according to your palate.