Kotopita (Greek Chicken Pie with Rice)


Chicken and rice enveloped in a flaky, crisp phyllo dough crust. This tasty pie can be flavored two ways — one fragrant with spices and slightly sweetened from the addition of raisins; the other savory and tangy with mint and feta cheese. This isn’t an ordinary chicken potpie!

Simply Delicious Greek Cooking: Episode 38: Kotopita

Ingredients

Filling:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped (or 2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced)
  • 1½–2 pounds cooked, shredded chicken, skin and bones removed
  • ¼ cup white, long-grain rice
  • ¼–½ cup pine nuts (optional)
  • ½ cup water or broth
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Pastry Crust:

  • 1 pound phyllo pastry. (To cut calories, use an olive oil flavored spray product like Pam between the fill sheets.)
  • 1 cup butter, melted, or olive oil 

Flavoring #1:

  • 2 teaspoons mint
  • ½ cup grated feta, hard mizithra, or Parmesan cheese

Flavoring #2:

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon 
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ cup golden raisins

Directions

Filling Preparation

  1. Heat half of the olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Sauté the onions until soft and translucent.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the onions, shredded chicken, and desired flavoring.
  4. In onion skillet, sauté rice and pine nuts, if using, in remaining olive oil.
  5. Add ½ cup water or broth.
  6. Bring to simmer and cook for 15–25 minutes until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed (Add additional water/broth, if necessary).
  7. Let rice mixture cool.
  8. Add cooled rice, beaten eggs, salt and pepper to chicken mixture; combine thoroughly.

To assemble pita:

  1. Layer ½ phyllo sheets for bottom of pita. (For a crispy bottom crust, sprinkle a light layer of finely ground dry breadcrumbs between every 2–3 sheets of phyllo).
  2. Do not cut bottom phyllo sheets to pan size; keep sides up.
  3. Brush butter or olive oil between each layer of phyllo; brush sides.
  4. Pour in filling; spread evenly.
  5. Fold phyllo sides over to completely enclose filling.
  6. Cut remaining ½ phyllo sheets to pan size.
  7. Continue layering phyllo sheets, brushing butter or olive oil between each layer.
  8. Brush top of final phyllo sheet with butter to aid browning. 
  9. Trim excess phyllo dough from sides and corners of pan.
  10. Cut through TOP phyllo layers ONLY; do NOT cut all the way through.
  11. Bake pita at 350° for 45–60 minutes; pita should be light, golden brown.
  12. Let cool for at least ½ hour before cutting all the way through.

Serving suggestions

Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. Refrigerate leftovers.


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