Chicken hydra (Kotopoulla Tis Idras) is a dish a grew up with. I’m now vegan so it’s not one I eat myself but it’s something I cook for my eldest son (my youngest doesn’t eat dairy) and Greek friends often ask for this.
As Papa G told me, this may not be a strictly traditional Greek recipe but it was given by a local from the island of Hydra, where a lot of writers, intellectuals and artists live and work and it’s a favourite here, with my Dad making it for me whenever I’m back home!
Chicken hydra is chicken in a cream and white wine sauce.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
80g unsalted butter, air room temperature
2 shallot onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 plump, fresh garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4x 175g organic or free range chicken breasts, boned and skinned
150ml chicken stock
75ml double cream
2 tablespoons brandy
Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
In a large frying pan, combine 2 tablespoons of oil and 50g of unsalted butter. Add the onions and garlic and saute over a low heat until soft but not brown for about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions and garlic to a clean plate and set aside.
Literally season the chicken breasts on all sides with the salt and pepper. Add 2 more tablespoons of oil and 30g of unsalted butter to the frying pan over moderate heat. When the fats are hot but not smoking, add the chicken breasts and brown until the poultry turns an even golden colour, for about 5 minutes. Turn the pieces and brown them on the other side for 5 minutes more.
Return the onions and garlic to the chicken in the pan. Add the stock and cook over a moderate heat until the stock is reduced by half for about 5 minutes. Add the cream, simmer and stir to blend. Bring to the boil for another 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add the brandy, cooking for 2 further minutes, letting the alcohol evaporate and burn off.
Turn the chicken in the sauce once or twice while cooking. The chicken should be thoroughly cooked and should totally absorb the sauce. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with rice or fresh pasta.
Let me know if you make it.