Cinnamon Chicken

It’s been raining non-stop for a week. Not just rain, but the kind with wind, thunder and even hail. The kind where I had to go out to the yard to take down the wind chimes so they wouldn’t break, or worse, the neighbors would complain about the incessant noise. During the last storm a few weeks ago, a huge tree (5 stories high) fell in the next street over, landing on a few electric poles and a car, just because the water-logged sloping earth couldn’t hold it.

Yesterday I read the kids a modern version of the ‘three little pigs’ (house of straw, house of wood and house of stone) when the middle one said happily: “That’s like ours!” pointing at the stone house. Hmm…not really, I wanted to tell him – ours is the one out of wood, the one the big bad wolf blew away with a huff and a puff…But why instill fears in the kid?

From this moist and dripping swamp I call a home, I’m sending you this lovely, flavorful chicken dish, because winter food should be all about stew-y and warming and it’s time to bring out the heavy pots and heat the oven. This wonderful and oh-so-simple to make chicken has one major spice – cinnamon! One teaspoon of cinnamon and slow cooking of browned onions result in a brown fragrant loveliness. All that’s left is to invite friends over and make a salad. Enjoy!

Chicken, Onion and Cinnamon Stew Recipe

You can vary with potatoes or any root vegetables but try and add carrots or yams too, as they go especially well because of their natural sweetness.
*Since each chicken is different and some have more liquid than others, you should start with half the water and add as necessary.

10 Chicken thighs and legs
1 large onion, sliced thickly
3 Tablespoons canola oil
fresh salt and pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 large carrots – peeled
3 washed yams
250 gr. chestnuts in vacuum (optional)

Heat the oil in a large pot and lightly sauté the onion, while stirring, until golden. Transfer to a large bowl.

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown it in the same pot from both sides – it will probably take 2 rounds.

Chop the carrots and yams (and potatoes and other root vegetables if you’re using them) into large pieces and mix with the fried onions. Transfer the vegetables to the chicken pot and season with more salt, pepper and cinnamon. Shift the chicken pieces so that some vegetables pieces fit between them.
Add water – start with half a cup. Transfer covered to an oven pre-heated to 350f / 180c.

After half an hour, lower the oven temperature to 300f / 150c and bake for 2 hours. Check the liquid levels, if it’s too low, add some water. It’s best to moisten the vegetables and chicken with liquids from the pot at least once during cooking. The chicken will be ready after an hour and a half but the extra time in the oven will only do it good.

The type of pot will determine how brown the dish is – if you want more color you can remove the lid for the final 15 minutes – just be careful not to dry it out!

If you add chestnuts do so half an hour before the end, so they don’t melt.