Childhood Memory: Yiayia’s Rooster Hilopites

Today I’m reminiscing about my childhood summers in Mikromani at my Grandparents’ farm. Every morning, Papou would wake up at 5am to tend to the farm, but he was always back by lunchtime. My Yiayia always made excellent food. My education of farm to table has always originated from Yiayia and Papou. Every summer she would sacrifice a ceremonial rooster for us and cook it with hilopites (Greek handmade pasta). Boy do I love and miss that dish! Just thinking about the aroma of it baking in the oven takes me back to that time, where she would sacrifice her rooster (in front of all the kiddies of course, which made for gory summer entertainment) to make this amazing dish for all of us. She would show us how to make the hilopites from scratch in her kitchen. And, of course, the most important part was the addition of Karmiri farm’s extra virgin olive oil (and she used a lot of it!), which added an amazing depth and flavor to the dish. In honor of my Yiayia Sophia I have decided to post this recipe. You can use store-bought chicken rather than the rooster for simplicity. Enjoy!

Rooster Hilopites Recipe

Serves 6

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Wash the rooster or chicken, cut into pieces, liberally season with salt and pepper, and brown sides in a large saucepan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. You may need to do this in 2-3 batches.
  • Remove the meat, add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 min.
  • Return the meat to the saucepan.
  • Pour the wine into the saucepan and add some salt (~1/2 teaspoon), pepper (~1/4 teaspoon), the bay leaves, fresh thyme, grated tomato, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and some water (1/2 cup or more, if needed) to cover.
  • Leave the food to simmer until the meat is just cooked through, about 10 min
  • In the meantime, preheat oven to 300°F
  • When the meat is ready, remove it from the saucepan and cook the hilopites in the juices until tender, 5-10 minutes.
  • Place the rooster or chicken pieces into a large roasting dish and add the hilopites along with the juices from pan around the pieces. Remove the bay leaves. Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes.
  • Serve with the feta or mizithra cheese

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