Cinnamon-Stewed Chicken

I discovered Greek food this summer when my boyfriend and I traveled to the lower 48 for our annual family visits.  First, I ate at Cat Cora’s new restaurant at Disney World while on a family trip.  Then while visiting my boyfriend’s family, we got takeout from a nearby Greek restaurant that was so good we ate there again before leaving.  I haven’t had a chance to try to cook many of the dishes I had this summer, but this is one I’ve perfected.  (I’ve now gotten around to trying my hand at Spanokopita – check out our Spanakopita Bites!)

Cinnamon Chicken

This recipe is adapted from Cat Cora’s original recipe that I found on a Disney recipe blog – did you know that if you ask for a restaurant recipe at Disney World, they’ll give it to you?!  I had Cinnamon-Stewed Chicken at Kouzzina at Disney’s Boardwalk as part of their Greek sampler.  It also came with a Greek lamb burger slider (so yummy!) and pastitsio (also good but too rich).  The cinnamon-stewed chicken was my favorite on the dish and the consensus favorite of our table.

After several attempts, I perfected this recipe for my home kitchen, and now I’m sharing it with you.  Chicken is braised in a spiced tomato sauce and served over orzo.  This dish is hearty and comforting but does pack a little punch from the cinnamon.  I hope you enjoy this hearty Greek dish as much as I do!  Hopefully I’ll have more Greek dishes coming to you soon…

Cinnamon-Stewed Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45-60 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients

10 oz. Chicken Breast
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 Onion, diced
1 1/4 c. Water
3 oz. Tomato Paste
1/2 tbsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 c. Orzo
grated Myzithra Cheese

1.  Slice the chicken through it’s equator so that its thickness is halved then pat dry.  Combine the cinnamon, salt, and pepper then rub the mixture into the chicken.

Spiced Chicken

2.  Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven.  Brown the chicken on both sides, cooking about 3-4 minutes per side.  Set aside.

3.  Add onion and 2 cloves of garlic to the oil and cook until golden.  Add 1/4 c. water to the pan and scrape the bottom to deglaze.

4.  Once the water has evaporated, add the remaining water, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and remaining garlic.  Slice the chicken and add it back to the pan.  Cover and simmer over medium-low heat 30 minutes then remove the lid and continue to cook until the sauce is adequately reduced.  If you over-reduce the sauce, just add a little more water to thin the consistency.

Reduced Sauce

5.  Once the chicken is almost done simmering, cook the orzo.

6.  Serve the chicken and sauce over orzo and top with Myzithra.

Note: Myzithra is a Greek cheese that can be found in the specialty cheese section at the grocery store.  You could also use parmesan.

Cinnamon Chicken

Maple Candied Bacon

I have three words for you:  Maple.  Candied.  Bacon.  Need I say more?

Maple Candied Bacon

I know I probably lost most of you as you made a dash to the kitchen to check your bacon stock, but for those still reading and needing a little more convincing to try this recipe, I’ll go on.  This dish is the perfect combination of salty and sweet!  Plus it has great texture.  Candied bacon is delicious for anyone, but it makes a particularly man-friendly snack – so it’s ideal for tailgating, Superbowl Sunday, or a guy’s birthday.  This appetizer will be the most popular bite at your next party (better nab some early!).

Maple Candied Bacon

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Cook Time: 45-60 minutes

Serves: 8-12

Ingredients

1 pound Bacon
2 tbsp. Maple Syrup
1/4 c. Brown Sugar
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

1.  Combine all ingredients, except bacon, in a large bowl and whisk together to make a thick glaze.

Today I actually used a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Honey Spice Mustard (YUM!!) cause that’s what I had on hand.  It doesn’t have to be strictly dijon, just make sure you’re using something high quality.

2.  Add your bacon to the bowl and toss well to coat.

Tip: I like to cut my bacon strips in half before adding them to the bowl so that I have more pieces of candied bacon and it lasts longer – that way more people have a chance to enjoy the deliciousness!

3.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil (making for easy clean-up 🙂 ) and top with a wire rack.  Lay your bacon pieces flat on the rack (ideally not touching each other).  It may be a bit like working a puzzle to get it all on there.  After I have all my bacon laid out, I like to drizzle any extra glaze left in the bowl over the bacon – don’t want to waste any maple-y goodness!

Place on Wire Rack

4.  Bake at 350° F until darkened and crisp.  This usually takes 45-60 minutes in my oven.  You don’t want to burn your bacon but it should appear appreciably darker in color when it’s done.  The level of crispness can be adjusted to your personal preference – maybe you like your bacon to be more chewy than crispy – just make sure it’s not still soft when you pull it out of the oven.

Baked Bacon

5.  Allow the bacon to cool for 5 minutes on the wire rack then transfer it to wax paper to finish cooling and setting.  Serve at room temperature and make sure you grab yourself a piece – this stuff gets inhaled!

Tip: This dish can sit out at room temperature for a little while, but if it’s going to be a long time before you serve it, stick it in the fridge.  Just make sure it comes back up to room temperature before serving.

Bowl 'o Bacon!