Greek chicken pie
I’ve had a fair few chicken pies in my day, all of them having quite big chunks of chicken in a creamy sauce, usually encased in a shortcut pie or topped with a buttery puff pastry lid. Some have carrots whilst others have mushrooms. There had been the odd sweetcorn kernel along the way and even some lardons of bacon or even their Spanish cousin chorizo.
The chicken pie I present to you today is however, the black sheep of the chicken pie world. He flouts convention and flies in the face of tradition. This guy is from Greece and he is happy to do things just a wee bit different. This chap was comfort food to max and tasty as heck but still managed to be quite light. Filling but not ‘reach for the stretchy pants’ filling. The chicken really is the star ingredient here, I think you’ll agree.
This recipe is really easy and straight forward but does take a bit of time to prepare so if you’re planning on having this for dinner, make a start on it a good few hours ahead. It’s perfect for making at the weekend when you’re not so rushed for time.
1 medium sized raw chicken (the kind you would buy to roast)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 large brown onions, sliced
6 sheets filo pastry
Melted butter to brush on the pastry
Start by slicing your onions and putting them into a large soup pot followed by the full raw chicken, olive oil and 50g of butter. Fill the pot with cold water so it is nearly covering the chicken then bring the water to a boil. As soon as the water reaches boiling point, pop a lid on and turn the heat down to a simmer. Leave to cook for 1 and a half hours until the chicken is cooked through.
After 1 and a half hours, carefully remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked onions and set aside in s bowl for later. At this stage you are going to be left with the pot of water that the chicken cooked in. Do not throw this water away as it is crucial to the next step.
Turn the heat on the pot to as high as it will go and boil the heck out of that water. It will probably take around 45 minutes but eventually it will boil down to a delicious, flavoursome, golden brown jelly. It should be the consistency of a soft set jam. Keep an eye on it when it really starts to thicken up as it will turn from liquid to jelly quite suddenly and you don’t want to risk burning it.
While your stock is boiling down, start to pick all of the chicken meat from the bones. It should come away really easily. Shred it into medium-sized pieces and transfer to the same bowl as the cooked onions. Season really well with lots of salt and pepper. Once the stock has turned to jelly, add it to the chicken and onion mixture and mix well. Have a quick taste and check the seasoning again. Now add in 2 raw eggs and give everything a final mix.
Preheat your oven to 200ºC, grease the inside of a pie or casserole dish, lay down the first sheet of filo pastry and brush with melted butter. Lay down the second sheet but turn it to a 90° angle and brush with butter. Lay down the third sheet, again turning 90° and brush with butter. Spread all of the chicken mixture evenly over the pastry layers then top with the three remaining filo sheets, again alternating the angle and brushing each layer with melted butter. Place in the middle shelf of the oven
After 15 minutes remove the pie from the oven and carefully cut into segments or wedges using a sharp knife. Return to the oven and lower the temperature to 180ºC. Cook for a further 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.