Niki Louca shares her recipe for chicken pie with mushrooms

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Niki Louca from My Greek Kitchen shares her favourite recipe for kotopita with manitaria (chicken pie with mushrooms) with The Greek Herald. You can follow her on Instagram @mygreekkitchen for more!

Niki first had this chicken pie in her early teens. A cousin of hers made it and soon enough it became one of her favourites. The recipe has dried mint in it – which is not one of the usual ingredients when making chicken pie.

Ingredients:

  • 2 kg chicken thighs fillets
  • 1 tbsp dried mint – divided 
  • 5-6 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 700 gms mushrooms – sliced

For the bechamel sauce:

  • 1 litre full cream milk
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 4 heaped tbsp cornflour
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten with a fork
  • ½ cup grated haloumi cheese or kefalograviera
  • 1 packet Antoniou filo pastry
  • Approx. 125 gms melted butter

Steamed greens to serve or any salad of your choice

Method:

  1. Cut chicken thighs into bite size pieces – approx. 2cm x 2cm cubes.
  2. In a non-stick frypan, sauté the chicken pieces until cooked – you will need to do this in batches. Season with salt, pepper and dried mint. Don’t add all the dried mint at once because you are cooking in batches. Divide mint according to the amount of batches needed.
  3. Once all chicken is done, set aside and allow to cool completely.
  4. Wipe the pan with kitchen paper towel and add 2 tbsp olive oil and sauté the mushrooms till cooked. Set aside till they cool down completely.

For the bechamel:

On a medium heat, melt your butter in a clean saucepan, and add your cornflour. Using a whisk, stir butter and cornflour till your roux is incorporated and cornflour has been cooked off (couple of minutes). Add your milk to the roux and keep whisking till fully incorporated and no lumps are present. Now add your lightly beaten eggs into the milk mixture and keep whisking making sure it doesn’t catch on the base of the pot. It is important to add the eggs before the milk gets hot as you will risk scrambling the eggs otherwise. Add you salt and keep stirring till you sauce thickens.

Once the sauce has thickened, add your haloumi cheese and stir through. This will further thicken your sauce.

Now add your cooked chicken pieces and mushrooms to the bechamel and stir through to mix all together – set aside till it completely cools downs.

In the meantime, preheat your oven on 150C fan. Grease your baking tray (approx. 32cm x 20cm, or a round tray).

Butter a sheet of filo pastry and add another on top of it (total of 2 sheets). Lay it on one side of your tray with half of it overhanging (as show in photo). Repeat the same on all sides of tray. Take 2 more buttered sheets, fold in half and lay them on the base of your tray. This will give full coverage of your tray on the base and all sides. Pour your cooled chicken/mushroom mixture and in a reverse way, fold the overhung filo onto the pie until all filo is folded over. Take another 2 buttered sheets of filo and cover the top of the pie to give it a neat and clean finish. You can leave it as is now and butter the top and cook or you can scrunch up individual pieces of filo and add them on top of your pie. You can add as many or as little as you like. Make sure you butter the tops of the scrunched filo as to not dry them out.

Cook in a preheated oven on low heat (150C) to make sure the filo pastry is cooked all the way through. This could take up to `1 ½ hours.

Enjoy with steamed greens or salad of your choice

Niki Louca runs cooking classes in Melbourne. For more or to book classes visit My Greek Kitchen at www.mygreekkitchen.com.au or Instagram @mygreekkitchen. You can email Niki at: niki@mygreekkitchen.com.au.

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