I have to say that with this summer being so excruciatingly hot much of the time, my cooking mojo has completely left me. If it can’t be plonked on the BBQ, then forget it. The side burner on that thing has been a godsend, or I swear we would not have eaten anything involving boiling for the last 6 weeks, and we are a family that loves our mashed potatoes and pasta.
The weather has taken a turn for the better lately and we have been having more rainy days, plus some days that are actually at or slightly below seasonal, which means WELCOME BACK COOKING MOJO. I find it sad that I now find 24 celsius to be cool and comfortable, but it’s all relative I suppose.
So today, I dug out the box of phyllo that has been languishing in my freezer for a very, very long time, grabbed a couple of boneless chicken breasts and decided that come hell or high water that would be dinner tonight. I am rather proud of the results.
We had this with some Greek potatoes which was basically boiled potatoes that I then coated in melted butter, lemon juice and salt, then grilled on the old BBQ. Yummm.
I can try to recreate the recipe as best as I can, but I didn’t measure anything, so bear with me. It’s a lot of steps, but nothing is very finicky or time sensitive, so you can do this recipe in 15 minute spurts or you can multitask it all at once if you like.
A box of phyllo pastry, left out so it’s thawed and ready when you are
For the chicken layer
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic minced
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Marinate your chicken in minced garlic, lemon juice, dried oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Mine sat for a couple of hours which seemed fine.
Cook your chicken. I grilled my chicken chunks on the bbq but you could easily sautee them in a pan with a bit of olive oil.
For the Kale Layer
1/2 of a large bunch of kale
1/3 cup diced red onion (or any onion you have)
2 cloves of garlic minced
Salt and pepper
Take the kale, washed and shredded (get rid of those gnarly stems that run through the middle of the leaves and don’t bother drying it since you’re cooking it anyway). Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil. Add kale and keep stirring it about until it gets all wilted. Salt and pepper kale to taste.
For Pinenut Layer
I put in some pinenuts (about 1/4 cup) which I toasted in a non-stick pan but they aren’t really necessary. I had them in the house.
For the Bechamel Layer
1/4 cup butter which you melt in a small saucepan
1/4 cup flour which you add to the melted butter and whisk until it combines
1 cup warmed milk which you add in slowly, whisking. It will start to thicken pretty much right away. Just don’t let it burn. Once it’s thick, turn off the heat and add…
2 egg yolks which you whisk in and add
pinch of nutmeg. Ta Da
For the Feta Layer
About 1/2 cup feta cheese
Now you’ve got all your filling components together, time to deal with the phyllo. Get your self a tea towel and dampen it so you’re ready to go. Open up the phyllo and unroll it so it’s flat. Lightly butter 9-inch springform pan (don’t sweat it if you don’t have one. Use a round cake pan or pie plate.) Lightly brush 1 sheet of phyllo with melted butter, keeping remaining phyllo covered with damp towel to prevent drying out. Line up short end of phyllo sheet with centre of pan and lay in pan, fitting over bottom and up sides and leaving overhang.
Lay second sheet of buttered phyllo next to but generously overlapping first sheet. Repeat with remaining sheets of phyllo, overlapping each to cover bottom of pan. It takes about 8 to get around the pan, overlapping and making sure it doesn’t look like the layers are too thin in any one place.
I diced up my cooked chicken into smaller cubes but don’t feel obligated. Dump it in the bottom of the pie dish, then spread your bechamel, then the kale layer, then pinenuts (if using) and feta on top. That’s the point where I took the picture above.
Now you just take your overlaps and fold them over the filling, brush the top with more butter and you’re good to go.
400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let it sit about 10 minutes before you release the springform. If your used a pie plate or cake pan, don’t try to turn the pie out because the top crust will just shatter. Serve it directly from the dish. Enjoy!
This was a recipe that I adapted from this one from Canadian Living http://www.canadianliving.com/food/squash_and_kale_phyllo_pie.php
It’s also delicious and it was the first time I had made something on my own with phyllo. Once I lost my phyllo virginity, I realized how easy it actually was. I think next time I’m doing an apple pie for my Muppet.