Thursday, November 22, 2007

Greek Cookbooks: A Festival of Recipes (Dayton, OH) with Recipes for Chicken with Toursi and Cinnamon-Scented Rice Pilaf / Κοτόπουλο με Τουρσί και Πιλάφι)

On holidays and other special occasions, most of us want the familiar foods of our childhoods. So it was with the Greeks who abruptly left Saranda Ecclessias in the 1920s. On Thanksgiving, the most American of holidays, they combined turkey with Toursi and Cinnamon-Scented Rice Pilaf, a dish redolent with the smells and flavors of their former homes in Eastern Thrace.

Evanthia Valassiades described the dish in A Festival of Recipes: A Collection of Recipes from the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Dayton, Ohio: "This combination may sound unusual but it is really wonderful. Families from Saranta Ecclessias enjoy this meal at Thanksgiving. The stuffing and sauerkraut portions would be doubled for turkey. We don’t stuff the turkey, but bake the rice accompaniment separately.”

For a rich and hearty winter meal, holiday or not, here is my version of Evanthia Valassiades’ recipe. Cinnamon-Scented Pilaf served with sweetened sauerkraut and flavorful chicken is an exotic, and compelling, flavor combination. The sugar renders the sauerkraut sweet rather than sour. I modified Evanthia’s recipe by significantly reducing the amount of sugar (the original recipe called for one cup), and by adding onion and thyme to round out the flavors.

Chicken and Toursi (Κοτόπουλο με Τουρσί)
Serves 6
The recipe is adapted from A Festival of Recipes: A Collection of Recipes from the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Dayton, Ohio, sponsored by G.A.P.A. Women, 2001

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Ivy said...

Hi Laurie, both the chicken and the pilaf look very interesting (have never tried them before). Hope to try them soon. Do you have a recipe for the sauerkraut?

Anonymous said...

time to comment been reading yr post life been to hectic..

1) me and a greek chef i met in france having discussing kaperi me toursi

2) On the political agenda of the exchange of the orthodox and the moslem population get the book Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres...

you just made me wish for pilafi... and i love the greek way of adding cinammon on stews on anything.... do i sound like i miss greece so much?

Elizabeth said...

Your pilaf looks wonderful. And even though I've never been the biggest fan of sauerkraut, I think I must try this chicken.


Laurie Constantino said...

Sha, I've really been meaning to read that book; more than one person has recommended it to me. Thanks for the reminder. Mmmm. Kapari me Toursi -- I like the capers preserved in salt the best. And, yes, Sha you do sound like you miss Greece! Nothing wrong with that.

Elizabeth, if you don't like sauerkraut, this is definitely the dish for you. By rinsing it well, and adding the other ingredietns, the kraut is no longer sour. And when eaten with the pilaf, yum.