Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chicken Stuffed with Trahanas

So, I picked up some trahanas from one of the many Greek specialty shops here in New York last week and decided that aside from the traditional soup I often make, I wanted to do something more with these tasty, tangy tidbits.

I should note that there are two types of trahanas, sour and sweet, and to be honest I have only ever had the sour type. I don't believe the sweet version is used differently and am pretty sure, although labeled as "sweet," it is just not as sour as the other variety.

In case you are wondering, which some of you probably are by now, trahanas is a pasta of sorts made of ground whole wheat grains that are cooked or soaked in sour milk or a mixture of milk and yogurt, then dried in the sun and coarsely ground until about the size of large breadcrumbs. Used primarily in soups, trahanas occasionally makes an appearance in Greek stews or even stuffings, which is the route I took here.

After bringing the trahanas home, I recalled reading--and being thoroughly intrigued by--a recipe for eggplant slices stuffed with trahanas on Food Junkie not junk food. I'd never used trahanas as such and decided my first foray into the world of stuffing with trahanas would include the thinly sliced chicken cutlets I'd purchased the day before, rather than the scrumptious in-season eggplant slices Johanna used a few months ago.

I made a pretty basic tomato sauce, much of which I had a good amount of left over and got to use in another pasta dish. Make sure your cutlets are quite thin and if necessary pound them until they are. Serve alongside some steamed asparagus, green beans, or even just with a salad, and you're good to go. Kali Orexi!

Chicken Stuffed with Trahanas
Serves 4 to 6

8 thin-sliced chicken cutlets, seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides
1/4 cup, plus 3 tablespoons, plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, finely chopped (1/4 cup divided)
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups trahanas
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup crumbled feta
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 26.5 oz. box of chopped tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Salt and freshly ground pepper


In a large saucepan begin making the tomato sauce by heating the 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add all but the 1/4 cup of onion set aside and saute until soft. Stir in the garlic, oregano and the red pepper flakes. Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar, reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Add half the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate saucepan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high-heat and stir in the reserved 1/4 cup of chopped onion. Saute until softened then add the white wine and allow to boil for a few seconds. Stir in the trahanas and begin adding the stock; stirring constantly until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add half the crumbled feta and the parsley and remove from the heat.

Place a heaping tablespoon of trahanas filling towards the end of one chicken cutlet and roll the cutlet up, securing with a toothpick as necessary.

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. In an ovenproof skillet, heat the last two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat and brown the rolled chicken on all sides. Spoon some tomato sauce over, sprinkle with the remaining feta and the grated parmesan and bake for about 10 minutes.


Peter G said...

As a kid, I had a lot of issues with trahanas! But, like everything I love it now. This is a really interesting way to use it Maria and it sounds delicious.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

you really are very creative
if trahanas were used in this way, i'm sure more people in greece would eat it more often. it is still made and eaten, but it is also considered a little old fahsioned.
in crete, we call it xinohondro. admittedly, it is made a little differently, but in essence, it is the same thing (a way to preserve excess milk in a kind of rusk, stored for winter use)

Navita said...

hi first time here, n loved reading u...would love to have u around at my place too.:)

Núria said...

Ai, this looks sooooo good Maria!!! Trahanas are completely new to me but I wouldn't mind to have one of your plates in my table today :D. Tomato sauce fits nearly everything... I will surely love it!

Ivy said...

Maria, this is very creative indeed. Trahanas is also very popular in pittes in Greece and I did make a trahanopita once and it was great.

Peter M said...

Maria, this is mucho creative, it could jolt me into appreciating traxana more and as Kiwi stated, more people eat it presented in this way. Awesome!

Anonymous said...

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Hopie said...

I have never heard of trahanas, but I'm always glad to learn something new, and this recipe sure looks delicious.

Anonymous said...

I love this idea! It has been AGES since I've had trahana. I should definitely check the Greek market to see if they have some!

Rosie said...

I've never tried trahanas *pasta* but this looks so good I would love to try this! Your really amazing with your creations!

Rosie x

Laurie Constantino said...

I'm the opposite of you - I've only ever had the "sweet" kind (it isn't sweet at all - maybe I should call it the unsour kind). I really want to try the sour kind because I've read about so many people that don't like it. Last year I did a piece with pictures of village woman making traxanas and hilopites - you might like it - then again you might not! :-) I really like your idea of using traxanas for chicken stuffing.

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