We love to make this delicious, yet very simple dish with the greens and stems from the local beets that we get on Kea almost all through the winter, until early in the spring. Manuela, my neighbor often gives me beets from her garden that are especially delicious. Later in April, as the actual beets get tough, we only cook the greens, as we would spinach, chard, or any other local leaves.
The sweet beet greens are especially delicious flavored with the tart, avgolemono sauce.
6 whole chicken legs, separated, or a whole cut-up chicken –preferably free range
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, preferably freshly ground or crushed in a mortar
2 tablespoons ground coriander seeds
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
About 2 cups Chicken Stock or more, as needed
2 1/2 pounds beet greens with stems; separate the stems and cut into 2-3 inch pieces (see NOTE)
1-2 fresh oregano or thyme sprigs (optional)
About 1 1/2 cups cooking broth from the chicken and beet greens
2/3 cup white wine
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more, to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Freshly ground black pepper and Aleppo pepper, to taste
Chopped fennel fronds or dill
Prepare the chicken: Season the meat on both sides generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fennel seeds and coriander all over the chicken pieces.
In the deep skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the chicken pieces on both sides until nicely browned. With a slotted spoon remove the chicken pieces to a platter and keep warm.
Add the onion to the skillet and briefly fry, then pour over the wine and broth and scrape up any caramelized bits at the bottom of the pan.
Arrange the chicken pieces in the pan and bring to a boil. Half-cover the skillet, turn the heat to medium and cook for about 35 minutes, until the chicken is almost cooked, adding more broth or water, as needed. It should be quite brothy.
Add the beet stems to the chicken and cook for about 8 minutes, or until tender, then add the beet leaves, toss, and cook for another 4-5 minutes until done to your taste.
Make the Avgolemono Sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the wine. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the remaining wine, then whisk into the egg mixture.
Whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1 1/2 cups of the hot cooking broth, 1/2 cup at a time, into the egg mixture.
Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and simmer, stirring very gently, until the sauce thickens.
Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding pepper and more lemon juice if you like.
Serve hot, sprinkling with dill.
Instead of beet greens and stems you can use chard, large, not baby, spinach, or a combination of various greens, as in Yahnera.