Okra (bamyes) stewed with tomatoes. (Photo by Eleni Sakellis)
Roasted chicken is a classic dish in Greek cuisine, flavored with oregano and lemon juice and usually accompanied by potatoes and side dishes such as stewed okra. Though fresh okra (‘bamyes’) are in season in the spring, frozen Greek okra, such as Barba Stathis brand, are available year-round and are less likely to have a mucilaginous texture. Stewed with tomatoes, okra may be served as a vegetarian main course as well. Rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K, okra also contain folate, thiamine, and magnesium.
Greek Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Oregano, and Potatoes
1 whole organic chicken
Greek dried oregano
Greek sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Greek extra virgin olive oil (optional)
5-6 medium potatoes, peeled and halved, lengthwise
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel and halve the potatoes lengthwise and set them in a bowl with cold water to prevent them turning brown while you prepare the chicken. Place the chicken breast side up in a roasting pan with enough space for the potatoes. Squeeze the lemons and drizzle over the top of the chicken and into the cavity. Stuff the cavity with one or two of the squeezed out lemon halves. If using, drizzle with some olive oil. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and oregano, to taste. Place the potatoes around the chicken in the pan and season with salt, pepper and oregano, to taste. Roast the chicken and potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the chicken, or until the breast begins to lightly color. Then, using a fork, or two forks if the chicken is large, turn the chicken breast side down, sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano and continue roasting until the skin is golden brown, then turn the chicken again, and roast until the breast side is golden brown and the potatoes are done, another 40 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the chicken and the strength of the oven. If the potatoes seem to be browning too much on one side, turn them as well and continue roasting. You may need to remove the potatoes from the baking pan if they seem to be disintegrating before the chicken is done. Remove the pan from the oven, tent the roasted chicken with foil, and let it rest 15 minutes before carving. The resting time keeps the chicken moist.During the roasting process, you may need to add about 1/4 cup of water to the pan in case it dries out. If there are pan drippings left, drizzle them over the cut chicken pieces before serving. Serve the chicken and potatoes with a side salad or the cooked vegetables of your choice such as the following recipe for stewed okra.
Stewed Okra (Bamyes Yiachni)
1 large onion, diced
1/4 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
1 can (28 oz.) whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes or 5-6 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 packages (15 oz. each) frozen okra (bamyes)
In a large deep pot, heat the oil over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add the diced onion and a dash of salt and sauté until translucent. Then, add the chopped tomatoes, two cups of water, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer until the sauce is reduced slightly, for about 20 minutes. Rinse the okra with cool water and add to the sauce. Simmer until the okra are cooked about 20 minutes. Test for doneness and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Serve warm with roasted chicken as a side dish or with cooked rice for a vegetarian main course.
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