The humble chook need not be boring – we’ve found three flavoursome chicken recipes the whole family will love!
the best chicken pie in greece
“The Greeks love their pies almost as much as we or the Aussies do, but theirs are made by building up thin sheets of filo pastry. This chicken pie was sensational, made by a mother-and-daughter team, Iro and Virginia Papapostolu, in the village of Aspraggeli in the region of Zagori, a mountainous part of Epirus. The pie is made from a whole chicken. The chicken and onions are first poached, and the liquid then reduced to a gelatinous sauce. It is the sweetness of the onions that really counts here.” – Rick Stein
Serves six to eight people
1 kg onions, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing and brushing
1 whole chicken (about ₁kg)
3 eggs, beaten
1½ tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 sheets filo pastry
Put the onions, butter and olive oil into a large pan or stockpot with a lid, add the whole chicken and pour in enough water so the bird is almost submerged. Cover with the lid, bring the water up to the boil, then turn down to barely a simmer and poach the chicken for about 1½ hours.
When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan and strain the cooking liquid into another pan, keeping the onions to return to the dish later. Boil the liquid hard to reduce to a tasty gelatinous stock. Allow the chicken to cool before stripping all the meat off the carcass, discarding the bones and skin. Put the chicken and the reserved onions into a large bowl and mix well. Add the eggs and chicken stock and season with the salt and some pepper.
Heat the oven to 230°C/gas 8.Grease a round pie dish with olive oil. Line the dish with 3 sheets of filo, alternating direction each time and brushing each layer with a little olive oil. Add the chicken mixture and fold the overhanging edges in. Top with a further 3 layers of filo, again placed at different angles to one another. Fold in the overhanging edges to seal the pie and brush all over with more olive oil.
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, reduce the heat to 200°C/gas 6, cut the pie into 6 or 8 wedges, then bake for a further 45 minutes. Allow to rest for 10-20 minutes, then serve, still warm.
chicken with tamarind sauce, shallots & pickled chillies
“When I was in Hanoi I was awestruck by the intense flavour of the chicken (clearly not battery-farmed). Something told me it was fresh when I could hear the roosters cock-a-doodle-dooing outside my hotel room. I never did get the name of this delectable dish, which originally had fried wings slathered in a spicy tamarind sauce with pickled chillies and shallots. I morphed it into seared boneless thighs to make a simple meal. Be sure to pick up corn-fed or free-range chicken as it makes a big difference.” – Jennifer Joyce
Preparation: 25 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating | Cooking: 25 minutes | Serves: 4
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, quartered
60 ml (¼ cup) fish sauce
2½ tablespoons sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
cornflour (cornstarch), for dusting
80 ml ( 1/3 cup) vegetable oil
2 red Asian shallots, thinly sliced into half moons
1 thumb-size red chilli, sliced and soaked in 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons torn mint leaves
2 tablespoons coriander (cilantro) leaves
Fried Shallots & Garlicto serve
1½ tablespoons tamarind purée
1 teaspoon finely grated garlic
juice of 2 limes
1½ tablespoons finely grated palm sugar (jaggery) or soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons chilli flakes
Combine the chicken, fish sauce, sugar and garlic in a large bowl and season with black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight if time permits.
Meanwhile, to make the tamarind sauce, put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over low heat for 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Drain the chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Dust the chicken in cornflour and shake off the excess. Put two large frying pans over medium–high heat and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to each pan. When the oil is nearly smoking, add the chicken and cook, in batches, for 3 minutes on each side. When the chicken is browned all over, reduce the heat to medium–low and cook, turning frequently, for another 5 minutes or until cooked through. Drain on paper towel.
Transfer the hot crisp chicken to a large serving platter. Spoon the tamarind sauce over the top, then scatter with the sliced shallots, pickled chilli and herbs. Top with Fried Shallots & Garlic.
GET AHEAD The day before, pickle the chilli, marinate the chicken, cover and refrigerate. Make the tamarind sauce earlier in the day. Cook the chicken just before serving.
chicken & asparagus ravioli
prep + cook time 45 minutes | serves 4
250g (8 ounces) asparagus, trimmed
200g (6½ ounces) minced (ground) chicken
2 teaspoons olive oil
270g (8½-ounce) packet wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten lightly
1 medium lemon (140g)
125g (4 ounces) butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons fresh chervil
Boil, steam or microwave asparagus until just tender; drain. Halve asparagus, reserve tops; coarsely chop stalks.
Combine chicken, oil and asparagus stalks in a medium bowl; season.
Brush wonton wrapper with egg. Place 1 rounded teaspoon of chicken mixture in centre of wrapper; top with another wrapper, press edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining wrappers, egg and chicken mixture.
Using a vegetable peeler, thinly peel rind from lemon. Cut rind into narrow strips. Squeeze juice from lemon (you will need 2 tablespoons of juice).
Cook ravioli, in batches, in a large saucepan of boiling water, for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through; drain. Divide into bowls, top with reserved asparagus.
Heat butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat; cook until butter turns a nut-brown colour. Immediately add garlic, then juice; season. Pour sauce over ravioli; sprinkle with chervil. Serve with grated parmesan, if you like.
Note: Using packaged wonton wrappers makes this dish much easier to assemble. While the ravioli are cooking, stir occasionally to prevent them from sticking together.
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