‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts’….. or so the proverb goes, but if they come with this chicken pie then they can stay as long as they like.
This is a classic Greek Pie known as Kotopita, using poached chicken and onions bound together with eggs and a little stock, and of course, Filo pastry.
For a pie, it is light and pretty healthy, with only a knob of butter being used in the stock, and olive oil used to brush the pastry.
The chicken and onions are poached in water, keeping the fat content low.
The poaching liquid is reduced to produce an intense gelatinous chicken stock that helps bind the mixture, along with some beaten eggs.
At first I was a bit unsure, being a big fan of the puff or short crust pastry pies we have in the UK, laden with meat and vegetables and other goodies. This seemed too simple, quick and easy.
How wrong I was. It was perfect for a light lunch or supper - with a Greek Salad of course. The chicken was moist and tender, and the onions were soft and sweet.
You could embellish the pie a bit more by adding chopped mixed peppers, mushrooms, carrots and even Feta Cheese, but for me the whole point is the simplicity, and with a Greek salad, you have all the embelishment you need.
1 whole medium chicken
Approx 3-4 onions, chopped
Knob of butter (30g/1oz)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 eggs, beaten
Salt and black pepper
6 sheets of Filo pastry (ready made)
METHOD Place the whole chicken, butter and onions in a large pan, and just about cover with cold water. (PIC 1 & 2)
Put on the lid and bring to the boil, then reduce to a light simmer for about an hour and a half. (PIC 3)
After removing the chicken from the cooking liquid to cool, strain the onions through a sieve, reserving the remaining stock. (PIC 4)
Keep the onions to one side and reduce the stock to about 250ml (PIC 5), giving an intense chicken flavour, and becoming somewhat gelatinous.(PIC 6)
This could take a wee while, but you can be doing other things while the stock is reducing - I watched an episode of Game Of Thrones!
Discard the skin from the now cooled chicken, and remove the meat from the breasts, legs and thighs. Chop roughly and put in a bowl along with the onions, seasoning well and tasting to see if you need more salt.
Add the beaten eggs and enough stock to bind everything together without being too runny.
Any stock left over will be a fantastic addition to soups or risottos over the next couple of days.
Heat the oven to 200℃/180℃ fan.
Brush a round pie dish with some olive oil, then line the base with 3 layers of Filo pastry, brushing each one with olive oil and making sure you offset each sheet from the previous to make sure there are no gaps.
Fill the dish with the chicken/onion mixture, and fold the overhanging Filo into the centre. (PIC 7 & 8)
Place another 3 sheets of pastry over the top of the pie dish (remembering to offset) and brush with olive oil, tucking the overhang down the edges of the pie to give a good seal. (PIC 9 & 10)
Place on a hot baking tray and bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes (depending on your oven) until golden and crispy. (PIC 11)