Chicken Riganato, Oregano and Greece on Spice & Recipe

Mother and daughter of Greek origin share the recipe and offer a few glimpses of the relationship between an immigrant mother and first-generation American daughter.

Chicken riganato with potatoes is a typical Greek recipe that uses the most popular herb of the cuisine – oregano. The herb is native to the area. In fact, the word oregano derives from the Greek compound word óros gános which means the brightness of the mountain.

There is a believe that a recipe is not Greek unless it has olive oil, lemon and oregano in it. Demetra Sakkas proves it right.

Demetra who is originally from Kalamata, Greece did not fall in love with America the first time she came. She went back to Greece after three months, where she fell in love with her husband John, who convinced Demetra to return to America for five years only.

50 years after, Demetra still misses Greece, but calls Omaha, Nebraska home. It is where her three children and grandchildren live.

Dina Sakka-Mulkey, the youngest of Demetra’s children, did not know English until she entered school. Fluent in Greek, Dina is determined to preserving her roots. She has visited Greece seven times and is getting ready to take her own family to Greece this summer. A mother of three, Dina instills the love for everything Greek in her own children. And this is how the tradition, language and food is preserved.

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Serving Size: 4 people


  • 1 whole chicken halved (or drumsticks or chicken thighs – it should be bone-in chicken)
  • 1 lemon
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oregano
  • ~1 cup of olive oil
  • 4-6 medium potatoes quartered
  • ½ cup water

Place chicken in a baking dish and add potatoes to create one layer. Drizzle olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano and the juice of half a lemon on chicken and potatoes. Massage the meat to achieve an even coating. Turn the meat over. Add more oregano, salt, pepper and the juice of the remaining half lemon. Massage again. Add more lemon if you prefer, along with 1/2 cup water.

Preheat oven to 385°F. Cook the dish for about one hour and half or until potatoes are soft and brown.


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May 9, 2021

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