Stove-top Mediterranean Chicken Casserole

Stove-top Mediterranean Chicken Casserole

It’s possibly a bit of an understatement to say that this week has been unusually busy …  and it’s only half way through! (wipes brow and forces drooping eye-lids apart) I switched countries, again. I zipped off to the dentist for a long-awaited emergency appointment on my first day here in Greece, which is definitely a sore subject, both figuratively and literally! And, last but definitely not least in the busyness department, I started commuting again almost an hour to and another hour from work, where there’s a Friday deadline looming already. Yikes!

So as you can imagine there hasn’t been too much time for cooking this week, but I couldn’t resist squeezing in just a little! Despite all the head-spinning craziness of trying to get things rolling in a new place again on Monday, I decided to get into the Mediterranean swing of things by making this super simple, colourful and tangy-flavoured stove-top casserole.

Stove-top Mediterranean Chicken Casserole

I don’t know if it makes sense to say that the flavours and colours of the casserole seemed to me to match the lovely warm, sunny spring-like weather we’ve been having here in the Med since I got back (so sorry to rub it in for those of you in places still suffering with a super chilly (US) or soggy and windy (UK) winter!) Don’t worry, though, it is still a hearty dish perfect for warming you up in the nastiest winter weather I can imagine!

Making this casserole basically entails no more than just browning some chicken thighs, frying chopped onion and garlic with some chunky pancetta, red peppers, paprika and thyme and then adding some chopped tomatoes, stock and, if you like, red wine. You let it all simmer away for a while. Then, at almost the last minute, you throw in a few capers and olives before serving the casserole out with a big mound of creamy mashed potato and crumbling some feta cheese over the top. I did warn you you’d be seeing a bit of feta cheese around here!

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Delicious!

Even if you aren’t usually keen on olives or capers, I’d encourage you to try adding a few anyway because the salty tangy-ness they add really does bring out and complement all the other lovely Mediterranean flavours so well.

olives and capers

The wonderful bonus of this casserole was that I made enough for four, so on the next night I shredded up the remaining chicken, tipped everything into a baking dish, stuck a pastry lid on top (I used ready-made to make things even easier), glazed it with egg and baked it for around 25 minutes at 200 degrees C/390 degrees F to make a tasty Mediterranean pie for Mr. Scrummy and I. I didn’t add any feta cheese this time, instinctively thinking that the pie would be rich enough without it, but I think it would have worked fine if I had!

I encourage you to give this a try next time you’re in the mood for a chicken casserole – with a twist! Two meals in one, remember!

Stove-top Mediterranean Chicken Casserole

Yield: Serves 4

Stove-top Mediterranean Chicken Casserole

An easy-to-throw-together and colourful chicken casserole full of wonderful Mediterranean flavours such as pancetta, paprika, red peppers, tomatoes, thyme, olives, capers and, of course, feta cheese. This can be cooked on the stove-top on a busy week-night to feed a family of four. Alternatively, a couple can eat half of it with mashed potatoes or crusty bread and then turn the other half into a lovely pie the next day!

Ingredients

  • a couple of tablespoons of olive oil
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 50 to 100 grams pancetta (I used diced from a thick slab)
  • 1 onion, sliced into rounds
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • A 400 gram/14 ounce tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons paprika
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 500ml (about 2 cups) chicken stock
  • 125ml (half a cup) red wine
  • 2 red peppers, chopped into medium-sized pieces
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of corn flour, for thickening
  • about 1 tablespoon of capers
  • about 10 black olives, pitted (I used lovely juicy Kalamata olives)
  • feta cheese for crumbling over the dish (amount to taste)
  • mashed potatoes, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large stove-top casserole dish or pot, then brown the chicken on both sides. Then transfer it to a plate.
  2. In the same pan, fry the pancetta for a few minutes, then add the onion and cook on a medium heat for around 5 minutes before adding the garlic and paprika and cooking for another few minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves and thyme to the pan (pick the leaves off) and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Put the chicken back in the pan with the stock, wine and red peppers. When it’s boiling, turn down the heat and let the casserole simmer for about 40 minutes.
  5. Just before the end of the cooking time, mix the corn flour with a little water, then stir into the pan to thicken the sauce a little. Add the capers and olives.
  6. Crumble feta cheese over the casserole to taste just before serving. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes.

Notes

Adapted from a recipe for Mediterranean Stewed Chicken in the Feb 2014 edition of Jamie oliver’s magazine.

This recipe would probably also work well made in a crock-pot. Let me know if you try it (I’d brown the chicken first).

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Comments

  1. says

    Ugh, the dentist. No fun! And hour-long commutes are not fun either! I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore after we moved! But this dish sounds wonderful – perfect for during the week. And I love all the flavors going on in here!

    • says

      It’s interesting, Ashley – while I was in Australia recently I was moaning about being in all day long while working from home, and now I’m complaining about my commute again … lol! Some people are never happy! Glad you like the dish. It really was tasty, especially with the feta on top!

    • says

      Thanks so much, Chris! I’m definitely going to relax in the sun a little this weekend. That’s probably all I need to get back on track! Glad you liked the photos – I love the vibrant colours in this dish!

    • says

      Thanks, Karen! I didn’t use to like olives, but it’s sort of obligatory to eat them if you live in Greece!

  2. says

    Mediterranean style dishes are my all time favorite. This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing. Sorry about the dentist and all that traveling, Wow!

    • says

      Thank you, Cheri! The end is in sight with the dental issue … travelling can be fun but it’s definitely harder to sort out things that would be so simple at home.

    • says

      Hello, Mariana! Yes, you’re right, you could definitely adapt this according to what you have or like, but I have to agree that the pancetta is pretty non-negotiable! ;-)

    • says

      My favourite dishes are the ones that pretty much cook themselves … yes, I’m a very lazy girl at heart! I bet it does freeze well if you don’t gobble it all up so fast like we did!

  3. says

    MMM. I might be stealing this when I get to Greece, or at least asking you for more local favorites that you happen upon. Deelish!

    • says

      I can’t say this is strictly speaking Greek, Chrissy, but it did use some great local flavours … you will love the food in Greece when you come here!

  4. says

    I’m so sorry to hear of all the hectic times you guys are having. the dentist is the worst. I’m glad you are able to have such comforting meals still. This casserole looks amazing!!

    • says

      Thanks for the good wishes, Zainab. I should be finally getting the tooth fixed today … hooray! But really I have nothing at all to complain about … life is good!

    • says

      You really must get to Greece some time, Aimee! Shame I probably won’t be here to show you around, but the good food is everywhere so you’ll have no problem finding that!

  5. says

    What a fabulous recipe! My hubby is a huge fan of anything with olives and capers, and he also loves chicken thighs! This is so perfect for him, and I love the addition of feta. It must be just epic as a pot pie- I can only imagine! Pinning this for sure and I will definitely be making it soon! Thanks so much!

    • says

      So nice to ‘meet’ you, Allie, and thanks so much for your enthusiasm about this casserole. It was delicious and the capers, olives and feta really do make it. I hope you give this a try and let me know if you do!

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