If you are trying to be healthy, filo pastry is an excellent way of having pastry and feeling virtuous – all at once. It IS a pain to work with – no matter how beatific TV chefs look while they’re using it, cheerfully advising to cover it with a damp tea towel. Generally I find we open a packet, don’t use it quickly enough and it becomes a troublesome flaky and yet in patches gooey horrid mess.
I suppose the moral of that story is to use it more often.
The recipe I posted for Jamie Oliver’s spinach and feta filo pie is one of the most popular on this site. And as popular as it is in our household, variety is always the spice of life.
This pie will not only help use up that pesky filo, but contains meat (chicken), so it satisfies those who aren’t keen on a high vegetarian meal count!
It received a thumbs up from all and so will definitely be on the menu again.
- 1 packet chicken thigh fillets (there are usually 6 in a packet and ~ 500g)
- 250g frozen spinach
- garlic (to taste) - I used a couple of cloves
- chopped rosemary or thyme (fresh is best, but use dried thyme as a substitute, dried rosemary is horrible)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 6 eggs
- 100g ricotta
- filo pastry
- olive oil
- Defrost spinach in microwave and then dry fry in a hot frying pan, to evaporate the water. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 220C (conv, 200C fan).
- Chop chicken into bite size pieces and place it in a bowl with some olive oil, the chopped garlic and chopped herbs. Season with salt and pepper. If you have time, set aside for half an hour.
- Heat a large, oven proof frying pan. Brown the chicken: do this in two or three patches so the pan stays hot and the chicken takes colour. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside in a clean bowl.
- Wipe the pan out with a paper towel. Working quickly, brush the pan with olive oil and start layering the filo. Brush each layer of filo with olive oil. You will need about 6 or 7 layers. If you have the filo overhanging the pan you can fold it over the filling to make a pastry lid.
- Add the chicken to the pan, reserving the juices.
- To the juices add the lemon zest and eggs. And then beat in the spinach.
- Pour this mix over the chicken and scatter over the ricotta.
- Fold over any overhanging pastry.
- Cook on a medium heat on the stove for a few minutes before placing in the hot oven.
- Bake until filling is set. This took about 40 minutes (in our normally very fast oven). If the filo pastry starts to brown, cover lightly with either baking paper or tin foil.
- When the filling is set, remove from the oven, cover and set aside for 10 minutes. This makes it much easier to remove the pie from the pan.