The Best Chicken Pie in Greece
- 1 kilogram onions chopped
- 30 grams butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for greasing and brushing
- 1 whole chicken about 1.5 kg
- 3 eggs beaten
- black pepper freshly ground
- 6 sheets filo pastry
The Greeks love their pies almost as much as we or the Aussies do, but theirs are made by building up thin sheets of filo pastry. This chicken pie was sensational, made by a mother-and-daughter team, Iro and Virginia Papapostolu, in the village of Aspraggeli in the region of Zagori, a mountainous part of Epirus. The pie is made from a whole chicken. The chicken and onions are first poached, and the liquid then reduced to a gelatinous sauce. It is the sweetness of the onions that really counts here.
- Put the onions, butter and olive oil into a large pan or stockpot with a lid, add the whole chicken and pour in enough water so the bird is almost submerged.
- Cover with the lid, bring the water up to the boil, then turn down to barely a simmer and poach the chicken for about 1½ hours.
- When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan and strain the cooking liquid into another pan, keeping the onions to return to the dish later.
- Boil the liquid hard to reduce to a tasty gelatinous stock.
- Allow the chicken to cool before stripping all the meat off the carcass, discarding the bones and skin.
- Put the chicken and the reserved onions into a large bowl and mix well.
- Add the eggs and chicken stock and season with the salt and some pepper.
- Heat the oven to 230°C/gas 8.
- Grease a round pie dish with olive oil.
- Line the dish with sheets of filo, alternating direction each time and brushing each layer with a little olive oil.
- Add the chicken mixture and fold the overhanging edges in.
- Top with a further 3 layers of filo, again placed at different angles to one another.
- Fold in the overhanging edges to seal the pie and brush all over with more olive oil.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, reduce the heat to 200°C/gas 6, cut the pie into 6 or 8 wedges, then bake for a further 45 minutes.
- Allow to rest for 10–20 minutes, then serve, still warm.
- Extracted from Rick Stein: From Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein (BBC Books, hardback £25)
- Photography | James Murphy
- For further information please contact Claire Scott | [email protected] | 020 7840 8274