Kozani Chicken – Simple Greek Food

Kozani chicken is a Greek recipe and this based on a version from Rick Stein. These quantities serve about 4 people depending on the size of the chicken pieces etc.
It is very simple but quite tasty. A nice saffron tone, with some sweetness from the prunes. It might even stand a pinch of sugar, taste and season once it’s cooked.
I’ve made it with chicken thighs with bones in (after removing their skin) and this is probably better for flavour. Some folks can’t be fussed with the bones and if you are wanting to serve as a fork and bowl TV dinner then you might prefer to use boneless and skinless thighs. I haven’t tried with chicken breast but this might work if the breast was kept in large pieces, perhaps halved, and then poached, taking care it isn’t cooked too long.
Reducing the sauce was essential. I took out the chicken when I was reducing. In a wide pan, this doesn’t take long. While it reduced I stripped the chicken flesh from the thighs and put it back in for a couple of minutes to re-heat at the end.
Serve in a bowl with some simple boiled rice or some boiled potatoes, and a Greek side salad.
Ingredients
  • 8 chicken thighs, skin removed
  • pinch of Kozani saffron (or Spanish saffron) – I just used regular saffron
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1½ tbsp sweet paprika (that’s the normal plain paprika, neither smoked nor too hot)
  • 20 pitted prunes (The soft “ready to eat” ones are Ok but don’t need much cooking so perhaps add them later in the process so they don’t over soften)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • A few turns of ground black pepper, or more if you like more kick
Method
  1. Put the chicken thighs in a large saucepan with about 1 litre water and the saffron. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and poach the chicken for 10–15 minutes. Drain, reserving the now yellow and saffron flavoured cooking liquid.
  2. At the same time heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and sweat the onion gently until very soft, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Add the paprika, cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken thighs, about 700ml of the cooking liquid and the prunes. Season with the salt and pepper and simmer for about 20 minutes, until heated through and the chicken is cooked. This is where pieces of chicken breast may need less time. (You could always remove the breast and sit to the side while the sauce finishes.)
  5. If the sauce is very watery, which it almost certainly will be, remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and keep warm while you reduce down the sauce so that you have enough to spoon over each portion.
  6. A sprinkling of fresh parsley might be nice.