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Mediterranean Chicken Pie

Mediterranean Chicken Pie

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Served 8.
By Dennis W. Viau; an original recipe.

I like savory pies. The inspiration for this one came from a restaurant trade journal. The pie was “Moroccan Style.” I have a Moroccan cookbook and the style didn’t seem right. I chose to vary the spices for a broader international flavor.


For the Filling:
2 tablespoons pure (cooking) olive oil
1 large onion (about 13 ounces/370g); diced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups (473ml) low-sodium chicken stock, preferably homemade (the broth sold in the store is okay)
1½ pounds (680g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you can substitute breast meat); cubed
¼ cup (1½ ounces/43g) chopped golden raisins
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (you can substitute cilantro)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley
Juice from 1 lemon
For the Pastry Shell:
½ cup (2 ounces/57g) sliced or slivered almonds
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 package (1 pound/454g) phyllo dough sheets; thawed
About ½ cup (120ml) extra virgin olive oil
About ½ cup (120ml) butter; melted
1 egg; mixed with 1 teaspoon of water to make an egg wash


Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the chopped onion. Sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and saffron. Cook about a minute. Add the flour and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce thickens. Add the cubed chicken and sauté until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Finally, add the raisins, basil, parsley, and lemon juice. Thicken the sauce again if necessary. Adjust for salt.

Grind most of the almonds (reserving some for garnish) with the salt and cinnamon in a small food processor.

To form the top crust, use half the phyllo sheets (the package I buy has two packets inside). Place a phyllo sheet on a clean surface and carefully brush the surface with the melted butter and oil. Brush carefully; it is brittle at this stage. Arrange a second sheet on top, at a different angle, and brush again. Lightly sprinkle some of the almond mixture over the surface. Continue to layer phyllo sheets at different angles, brushing with oil and butter and topping with a little almond mixture, until half the phyllo sheets and all the almond mixture are used. Trim to match the width of a 9-inch (23cm) pie plate and cut a few vents to release steam. Wrap in plastic and set aside. Heat oven to 375°F (190°C).

To form the bottom crust, repeat the phyllo layering procedure with the remaining half of the phyllo sheets, brushing with oil and butter, but using no almond mixture. Grease the pie plate with butter and arrange this crust in the plate, pressing it into the bottom and easing the excess around the sides.

Fill the pie shell with the chicken mixture. Brush the edges of the bottom crust with egg wash and then arrange the top crust in place, pressing around the edges to seal. Trim the excess off the bottom crust. Brush the top of the pie with egg wash and garnish with the sliced or slivered almonds that were reserved earlier.

Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 40 minutes. Allow to cool about 15 minutes before serving.