Kate's Cuisine

Nov 01 2016

Estonian Chicken


I’ve talked a lot about my grandma on my blog, but I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that she’s Estonian. She fled from the country when she was in her late teens/early twenties, and she’s got one of the most interesting stories of anyone I’ve ever met. Scratch that. She’s got the most interesting story of anyone I’ve ever met.

When I think back on it, Grandma cooked pretty traditional Canadian/North American dishes while we were growing up. Split pea soup, meatloaf, and casseroles were all big favourites at Grandma’s, and I never really identified a lot of it as being traditionally Estonian. However, she does make this incredible pickled beet and potato salad that’s known affectionately as just “Red Salad” at my house. And with the addition of herring, as kids we all knew it was a dish that Grandma had brought with her from Estonia. It’s crazy good, and now that I’m thinking about it, I’m going to have to make it and post that for you, too.

But for now, we have this Estonian Chicken recipe. It comes from the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, which is perfect because, I am also Canadian. The Globe calls it “Chicken from Tallinn,” which just happens to be the actual city that Grandma grew up in, but I did make some adjustments. Some of the things they called for – like Kalamata olives and pancetta just weren’t things that I grew up with, and I really did want to make something that I knew would be easily found on Grandma’s table back in the day. So this is my Estonian Chicken recipe, and I hope you like it as much as I did!

  • 1 head garlic, with cloves separated $0.30
  • 2 pounds (about 8) boneless, skinless chicken thighs $5.00
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel $0.06
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes $0.23
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped $0.50
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil $0.09
  • 1 onion, chopped $0.47
  • 1/2 cup red wine $1.25
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained $1.49
  • 1 cup chicken stock $0.50
  • Zest of 1 lemon $0.15
  • 1 cup frozen peas $0.49
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped $0.20
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $10.75
Cost per serving $1.80

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Remove root ends from garlic and add cloves to the boiling water. Boil for 2 minutes. Drain, peel garlic cloves, and set aside.

3.) Cut chicken thighs in half. Sprinkle with fennel, chili flakes, rosemary, salt, and pepper.

4.) Heat oil in a large oven-proof skillet over high heat. Brown chicken in batches, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside.

5.) Reduce skillet heat to medium-low. Add onions and garlic cloves and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, or until everything is soft.

6.) Add red wine, bring to a boil, and let simmer until it’s reduced by half. Add tomatoes and stock and simmer for 5 minutes.

7.) Add the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the peas. Return the chicken to the skillet.

8.) Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, until the chicken is entirely cooked through and no longer pink in the centre.

9.) Remove skillet from the oven and sprinkle the entire dish with chopped parsley.

10.) Serve and enjoy!

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