Chicken and Onion Stew Recipe (Kotopoulo Stifatho)

Chicken and onion stew
Claudia Totir / Getty Images
  • Total: 2 hrs 5 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 105 mins
  • Yield: 4 (4 servings)

Chicken stifatho dishes are generally known for including boiler and/or pearl onions, wine, and a tomato sauce, and this recipe for kotopoulo stifatho (in Greek: κοτόπουλο στιφάδο, pronounced: koh-TOH-poo-loh stee-FAH-thoh) is no exception. The wonderful combination of spices (cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves) makes this a vibrant stew. The optional addition of cheese adds even more depth. Chicken stifatho is commonly served with fried potatoes, a green salad, and crusty bread.


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 pounds pearl onions (or whole boiler, peeled)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 chicken (around 4 pounds, cut into serving-sized pieces)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic (thinly sliced)
  • 2 pounds of tomatoes (ripe, peeled and finely chopped or pulped in food processor, including juice)
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup of white wine (dry, or dry vermouth)
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper (freshly ground or a few peppercorns)
  • Optional: 1/2 pound of kefalotyri cheese (or pecorino, cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
  • Optional: 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

Steps to Make It

  1. In a skillet, sauté whole peeled onions in 2 tablespoons of oil, stirring constantly until lightly browned. Transfer onions to a colander to drain and discard oil.

  2. In a stew pot, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat, add chicken pieces and turn frequently to brown on all sides.

  3. Add garlic slices and sauté for a minute or so more to brown (total about 10 minutes).

  4. Stir in sautéed boiler onions, chopped or pulped tomatoes (with their juice), wine, salt, pepper, and a bouquet garni with the cinnamon stick, cloves, and bay leaves.

  5. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours without stirring, until the only liquid remaining is the sauce. Discard bouquet garni.

Optional Cheese

  1. Toward the end of cooking time, heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and add cheese.

  2. Cook until browned on one side and, with a spatula to pull up the cheese where it may stick to the pan, turn and brown on the other.

  3. Discard the bouquet garni and add cheese to the completed stew, cover, and remove from heat.

  4. Allow to sit 10-15 minutes before serving to give the cheese time to melt.

Note: If using a blender or food processor to pulp the tomatoes, peeling is optional. Prep time depends on the time it takes to peel the onions. Some ideas to make it easier.

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