I have a tendency to think that things that taste good must be difficult to make.
I am still on Vancouver Island. The weather has been stormy and quite miserable. There are still the occasional dahlia flowers still available at flower stands around the city, but you can tell the season is almost over and people are preparing for winter. Help wanted signs at grocery stores to help with the Christmas tree displays, Christmas lights starting to appear in the odd shop …
All of this makes me crave comfort food. When the world outside is too cold and menacing, I seek comfort in a one pot of warm goodness.
This particular version of “kritharaki” is made with chicken, but you can use lamb if you wish. I am not sure if it is Greek or Cypriot, but I like it just the same.
two chicken breasts chopped into slices
1 finely diced onion
1 tbs tomato paste
1/2 cup passata (or 1/4 cup passata and 1/4 cup water)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp all spice berries
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 garlic cloves
1 cup of orzo
3 tbs olive oil
salt to taste
In a large pot, heat 2 tbs of olive oil. Add the chicken and brown the same on either side. Remove chicken, add 1 tbs olive oil, add the onions and garlic. Cook until soft. Add the tomato paste and stir together for a minute. Add the chicken back into the pot, and stir together. Add the passata (it should just about cover the chicken but not quite), paprika, all spice berries, pepper, cinnamon and salt to taste. Cook on low-medium heat for about 15-20 minutes ensuring the chicken is well cooked. Remove the tomato sauce from the pot. Pour water into the pot and add the 1 cup of orzo. Cook the orzo until ready, drain the liquid, and pour the sauce back into the pot. Serve with grated “anari” cheese on top or kefalotyri.