KOTOPITA (GREEK CHICKEN PIE)

Ingredients

The Filling:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red onion, chopped

8 garlic cloves, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons Dish off the Block Ciao Bella Italian Spice Blend

4 cups cooked chicken, shredded into bite-size pieces (leftover chicken works great here too!)

½ pound ham, cut into ½” cubes (optional)

 

The Bechamel:

¼ cup butter

¼ cup flour

2 cups milk

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

 

The Cheese:

1 cup feta, crumbled

1 cup smoked gouda, shredded

½ cup grated parmesan

 

The Phyllo:

1 stick butter, melted

20 sheets phyllo dough (8 ounces)

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onions, garlic, and peppers to the pan and cook, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes until they are soft and fragrant.  Add the mushrooms, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to the pan.  Continue cooking, stirring, for another 4-5 minutes until the mushrooms release their moisture and begin to lightly brown.  Stir in the chicken and ham.  Set aside.

To make the bechamel, melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the flour.  Whish until the roux is bubbling and then stir in the milk and salt.  Cook, whisking, until a thick sauce forms and coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl and slowly add about ¼ cup of the bechamel, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs (so they don’t scramble when the hot sauce hits them).  Gradually add the rest of the sauce, whisking constantly, until the sauce is fully incorporated, thick and smooth.  Add the sauce to the chicken mixture and fold in the cheeses.  Set aside.

To assemble the pie, brush a 9” x 13” baking dish with a layer of the melted butter.  Place 3 sheets of the phyllo dough in the bottom of the baking dish and drizzle a couple teaspoons of the butter over the top sheet.  Repeat 2 more times, laying down 3 sheets and drizzling with butter for a total of 9 sheets on the base of the pie. Pour the filling into the baking dish and spread it out evenly.  Top with 1 sheet of phyllo and brush with a thin layer of the butter.  Repeat with the remaining 10 sheets of phyllo, brushing a thin layer of the butter on each.  Brush all of the remaining butter over the top.

Using a sharp knife, cut the casserole into 12 equal squares (doing this before baking will keep the phyllo from crumbling when you cut after baking).  Sprinkle the sesame seeds all over the top of the casserole.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.  Let the casserole set for 20-30 minutes after it comes out of the oven.  Devour!!

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