Greek Baked Chicken in Yogurt

This was Patti’s surprise dinner for her boyfriend Caleb on his recent 21st birthday, Greek baked chicken in yogurt, plus rosemary garlic potatoes.  I don’t know about anyone else but on my 21st birthday I ended up eating at the local Ihop at 2:00 in the morning (pancakes mm), so I’d say that Caleb’s 21st year kicked off to a gastronomical good start.

Yogurt is undeniably wonderful (at least in the land of Northside Kitchen blogosphere).  Specifically, greek yogurt is heaven.  It can be eaten plain, with honey and nuts as a dessert snack, or used as a sour cream substitute.  I say forget sour cream completely, greek yogurt wins hands down!  Traditionally called strained yoghurt, Greek yogurt is a fermented form of milk that is then strained through a (usually) muslin cloth to remove the whey (milk plasma), giving it its wonderful dense and creamy consistency and taste.  If you are someone who has yet to try this easily found- in- your local- dairy- isle goodness, get up and go get some!

Food baked in a casserole dish tends to look lumpy and kind of messy (think your mother’s tuna noodle casserole), don’t let this fool you! Patti and Caleb both loved the dish, and I am going to try it myself soon.  Its one of those convenient yet  fancy sounding and tasting dinners that gussies up any special  occasion that occurs on a weekday (when really all you would normally want to do is to come home from work, put slippers on and eat cereal out of an enormous bowl).

GREEK BAKED CHICKEN IN YOGURT

*From Diana Henry’s Pure Simple Cooking

Serves 4:
4 large chicken breasts, skin removed ( we used boneless, skinless)
salt and pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped ( we used a red onion)
16 oz. Greek-Style Yogurt (BEST THING EVER)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten (double the egg if you would like an eggier taste, its good!)

2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
leaves from 2 to 3 mint sprigs, torn
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and quickly brown them in a couple tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat- you just want a good outside color, not to cook the chicken through. Remove these and set aside. Saute the onion in the same pan- add a little more oil if needed- until soft and just turning golden.
  2. Combine the yogurt, eggs, flour, feta, dill, mint, and garlic in a large bowl and mix well.
  3.  Lay the onion and the chicken in the bottom of a ovenproof dish into which everything will fit snugly. Spread the yogurt mixture evenly on top and sprinkle with the Parmesan.
  4. Bake for 45 min. The yogurt will have set, and the chicken should be cooked through.

ROSEMARY,GARLIC, AND OLIVE OIL POTATOES

*again from Pure Simple Cooking*

Serves 4:
1 1/2 lbs small new potatoes, cut into chunks the size of a walnut
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 garlic bulbs, cloves separated, unpeeled
6 branches fresh rosemary, with leaves removed from the stems
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a shallow ovenproof dish or roasting pan. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer, no overlapping.
  3. Roast for 35 min or until the potatoes are tender (mine took a little longer) Give the dish a good shake from time to time to make sure all sides get a bit of browning.
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