Layers of filo pastry create a crisp, textured case for the fragrant chicken filling.
- ⅔ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 1 leek, trimmed and chopped
- 2 cups red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup (70 g) pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- 1 cup graviera cheese, grated
- ½ cup feta, crumbled
- ½ cup golden Greek raisins
- 1 cup fresh mint, or 3 tbsp dried mint
- ½ cup parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper, to taste
- a few tbsp rice, quinoa or bulgur, if needed
- 450 g (1 lb) filo pastry
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time: 30 minutes
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan or deep frying pan and cook the leek and onion until soft and lightly colored. Stir in the garlic and allow to cook until tender.
2. Transfer the onion mixture to a mixing bowl. Stir in the chicken, cheeses, raisins, herbs, spices, and toasted pine nuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the mixture is loose, add a handful of raw rice, quinoa or bulgur.
3. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Lightly oil a 23 cm x 33 cm x 5 cm (9 in x 13 in x 2 in) rectangular baking pan.
4. Open filo sheets and place vertically in front of you on a clean work surface. Keep covered with kitchen towel.
5. Take the first 6 sheets and fold in half across the width so that the sheets look like a book. Open the 'cover' of the filo book from right to left and brush the inside jacket with olive oil. Continue turning each half sheet and brushing the left side.
6. When you get to the last layer, do not brush, but fold in half again to form the 'book'. Flip over and open from left to right this time and brush each surface with olive oil.
7. When you get to the last sheet, brush the entire sheet with olive oil and place the stack inside the baking dish. Cover with filling and spread evenly over surface of filo with a rubber spatula.
8. Repeat the filo procedure to for the top layers, using 5-6 sheets. Lay the stack over the filling and press down gently. Score into serving pieces. Sprinkle top sheet with a little cold water.
9. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until filo is golden and crisp. Remove, cool for 30 minutes and serve.