Zeus' Sunday Chicken Dinner
It's an old American custom to serve a roasted chicken for Sunday night dinner, and to turn the leftovers into savory, deep dish chicken pot pies. I love starting the week (or ending the weekend) with a simple roast bird. I also adore homemade pot pies, with their tender, buttery crusts enclosing the steamy, creamy vegetables and chicken pieces.
The Greeks have their own version of pot pies, which are rich in the flavors of their magnificent culinary culture. In this recipe, buttery, paper-thin filo dough is filled with the savory herbs of Mt. Olympus, luscious green spinach, tender chicken pieces and those superior Greek cheeses, feta and kasseri. Forget waiting for leftovers to make this pie. This is a meal that Zeus himself would want for Sunday night supper, a powerfully flavorful meal to start the week with, before being plagued by the foibles of mankind and the petty bickering of other gods. This is a pie full of robust flavor, yet light and flaky. In short, this pot pie is absolutely divine!
- 8 sheets frozen filo dough
- 1/2 pound fresh spinach, tough stems removed
- 2 eggs
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1 tablespoon ouzo (optional)
- 1 celery rib with leaves, chopped
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup kasseri cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Thaw the filo dough according to manufacturers instructions. In some cases, this may be overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the bottom and sides of a deep 10-inch pie dish with some of the olive oil.
Rinse the spinach well and place in a microwavable bowl. Microwave on high 1 to 2 minutes, stirring once, until wilted and cooked through. (Or, cook the spinach in a dry skillet until wilted.) When cool enough to handle, squeeze the moisture from the spinach. Chop the spinach into fine pieces. Place in a medium mixing bowl.
Separate 1 egg into 2 small bowls. Break the remaining egg into the bowl with the egg white and beat lightly. Set both bowls aside.
Dice the chicken breasts and place them in the bowl with the spinach. If using, pour in the ouzo. Add the celery, green onions, mint, basil, marjoram, tarragon, pepper, feta and kasseri. Pour in the beaten egg mixture and mix thoroughly.
Place the filo dough on a clean counter or work surface and keep covered with plastic wrap or a lightly dampened towel throughout the assembly process. As you assemble the filo sheets, brush each sheet with some olive oil before placing it in the pie dish. Start by placing the first sheet of filo half of it in the dish and half extending beyond the edge. Place a second sheet on top, this time extending over the edge in the opposite direction. Place two more sheets in a strip at right angles to the first two sheets, effectively forming a cross. Repeat this process with the remaining 4 sheets.
Spread the chicken mixture evenly into the pan. Fold the overhanging layers of filo up and across the chicken, sheet by sheet, brushing with olive oil after each sheet is in place. Finish smoothing out the top with a final brushing of olive oil. Beat the egg yolk lightly, then brush the top with the beaten yolk. Pierce the top in several places with a fork to allow steam to escape.
Bake 50 minutes, until the crust is crisp and golden. Let cool on a rack 10 minutes before cutting. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Serve with a salad of Simple Sliced Tomatoes (see recipe) and some pungent Greek olives on the side.
Global Gourmet Recipes
©1994, Katherine Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1997—the electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc. All rights reserved.
This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007