Greek noodles and chicken prepared in a delicious tomato sauce
Have you ever had square pasta? Like small little squares of egg noodles that are delicate and full of flavour? If you’re Greek, or have ever visited a Greek home, we think that the answer might be (should be) Yes!
Hilopites are the small, square-shaped egg noodles that we grew up with. In fact, we have very vivid memories of our parents gathering with aunts and uncles and dear friends, spending the day making hilopites from scratch. Flour, water (or was it milk?), salt, eggs all worked together and transformed to make long strips of noodles that were then cut by hand into perfectly imperfect squares.
Once cut, the hilopites were laid out to dry on tablecloths and bed sheets reserved for this purpose. Because making hilopites was a group and all day affair, you can imagine that what was produced was more than a one-time serving; when one made hilopites, one made a LOT of hilopites. So, for hours our beds were off limits as they were the perfect spot to lay out the tablecloths and sheets, sprinkle them with some flour, and spread the hilopites out to dry. Our home looked a bit funny, but the drying pasta smelled delightful.
As kids we loved sneaking into the hilopita bedrooms to grab a few of the drying pastas and then pop them in our mouths. For some reason, we loved the taste and the texture and the way they tended to stick between our teeth. After our taste test, we would carefully rearrange the hilopites so that the adults wouldn’t realize we had eaten them raw; they were funny about that sort of thing.
Every once in a while, an errant hilopita would find itself in our bed, missed while the rest of the pasta was packaged in bags and stored in the cold room or refrigerator. So there we would be, lying in bed getting ready for sleep and a perfect little square noodle would be lying by our pillow. You can be sure that that ended up in our mouths too.
There are so many wonderful ways to enjoy hilopites. We have previously posted a recipe for a hilopites soup; a vegetarian way to enjoy this lovely little pasta. And now we are happy to share a very traditional dish of hilopites cooked with chicken in a tomato sauce, a classic kokkinisto dish that is comforting, satisfying and so very delicious.
You can usually find hilopites in Greek or Mediterranean grocery stores, and even on-line. However, if you happen to be visiting Greece, or know someone who is, you can always ask them to forget the souvenir keychain and bring back some hilopites instead. Hilopites from Greece, especially when home-made, are a luxurious treat.
Although weirdly delicious raw (especially when they are homemade), it really is recommended that you cook your hilopites.
If you like cheese (who doesn’t?), this dish is delicious with a generous sprinkling of grated mizithra. If you can’t find mizithra, grated parmesan or romano cheese (or a combination of the two) could also be lovely.
If you would like us to write a post on how to make homemade hilopites, let us know in the comments below. Maybe if enough of you ask, our parents will show us all how it’s done! 🙂
Pin this recipe if you like it!
Do you love meals cooked in tomato sauce, that classic Greek technique called kokkinisto? If so, here are a few other recipes to try:
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Hilopites with chicken (Κοτόπουλο κοκκινιστό με χυλοπίτες)
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
- boiling water enough to cover the chicken
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 cups hilopites uncooked
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup mizithra cheese (optional)
- Butcher your chicken in order to end up with 8 serving pieces (2 breasts, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs and 2 wings). Remove as much of the skin as possible, as well as any visible fat.
- Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 tablespoon of salt.
- Add the vegetable oil to a deep frying pan and heat over medium heat. Being careful not to over crowd the pan, add the chicken pieces a few at at time and brown them on all sides (about 5 minutes per side). Depending upon how large your pan is, you may have to do this in batches.
- Transfer the browned chicken to a large pot. Add the tomato sauce and enough boiling water to cover the chicken.
- Add the cinnamon and the pepper. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat back to medium and cook, covered, for 10-12 minutes.
- Stir the hilopites into the pot This may be a bit difficult since your chicken is in the pot, so be sure to stir carefully.
- Cook, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. It is important to stir well to avoid the hilopites from sticking to the bottom of your pot.
- After the 20 minutes have passed, add a tablespoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of salt, stir and then turn off the stove. Cover the pot and let sit off the heat for 10-15 minutes. This will allow the soup to thicken up a bit.
- Upon serving, sprinkle with grated mizithra cheese if desired.