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Greek Vegetarian Chicken Phyllo Pastry

December 5, 2011

Photo by Pat

I love a good party.  Weddings are the best.  To me it’s all about the dress and the cake, right?  Next, my thoughts wander to the buffet table and what might be available for the vegetarian guest.  Only once in my life have I been treated to a beautiful vegetarian entree that rivaled the meals being served to the other guests at my table.  It will be a forever memory.

Cooking a vegetarian option is a daunting task for most chefs and caterers. For the home cook, it can be downright terrifying. A classy meat-free entree to mark a special holiday or family event can be difficult to pin down.

For me, I look for something that can be made in advance and frozen, or stored a couple of days in the refrigerator and then baked just before serving.  For large gatherings you want something for everyone and because it’s special you really want that “wow” factor. When a friend asked for help finding something vegetarian for her sister’s wedding, I immediately thought of Kotopita.

I have made Kotopita or Greek Chicken Pastry several different ways but this particular recipe is my favorite.  It comes from a classic recipe available abundantly on blogs and websites but I have converted it to a vegetarian version.  It is easily made and rolling up the phyllo dough into packages is not as hard as you think.

Simple side dishes will highlight this beautiful star of the plate.  At home, I serve it alongside a simple couscous with toasted almonds, a beautiful Mediterranean style salad, and lightly steamed asparagus with a drizzle of orange vinaigrette.  Because of the creamy appearance of this pastry, additional color from your side dishes is a must on the plate.  Give it a try before the big event, I’m willing to bet that the meat lovers in your group won’t notice that it’s vegetarian.

Kotopita or Greek “Chicken” Pastry
Makes 10

Filling:

1 pkg. (12 oz) Quorn Chicken Tenders (vegetarian product)

Photo by Pat

2 T olive oil
2 lg garlic cloves, chopped
2 c onion, chopped
1 c celery, chopped
1 tsp salt
½ c water
1 heaping T McKay’s Chicken Seasoning and Broth mix (Vegetarian)
½ c grated Parmesan cheese
4 oz Feta cheese, crumbled
1 recipe white sauce listed below

Saute the garlic, onion, and celery with the olive oil in a skillet.  Add the Quorn Chicken Tenders and sprinkle the McKay’s Chicken Seasoning over all and continue to saute until the vegetables are cooked.  Add the water and simmer until the mixture is almost dry.  Remove from heat and let cool about 15 minutes.  Drain if necessary.

Add the cheeses and the warm white sauce.

White Sauce for Filling

2 c milk
4 oz butter
5 T flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add the flour.  Stir and bring mixture to a “bubble”.  Take off heat and stir in the milk with a whisk.  Place back on the heat and continue whisking until the sauce has thickened.  Remove from heat and add the salt but add more if needed.  Stir in the cheese and let the sauce cool about 15 minutes.  Mix into the Chicken tenders mixture above.

To make the pastries you will need:

2 pkg frozen phyllo dough, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), melted

Photo by Pat

To assemble: (Note:  phyllo pastry sheets dry rather quickly, cover the unused portion with a sheet of plastic wrap and a wet towel.  If you have holes, the next pastry will cover it up and seal it.)

Lay out on the counter 1 sheet of phyllo and paint the sheet with melted butter.  Top with 2 sheets of phyllo and paint the top with melted butter.  Add two more sheets and paint with butter.  Add 1 more sheet which makes a total of 6 sheets.

Place about ¾ cup of filling toward the end of a long side of the phyllo sheets and fold over the sheets once, trying to leave a little pocket of air for expansion while cooking.  Fold in both sides about an inch or a little more then continue to roll forward until you have a neat package.  Use melted butter to seal the edges.  Place on a buttered cookie sheet and then paint the pastry all over with melted butter to seal it so the phyllo doesn’t dry during storage.  Continue until you have all 10 pastries rolled.

At this point, the pastry can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for a few days or frozen for later use.  I saw no difference in the quality from the two methods.

To bake:

Thaw in the refrigerator if frozen.  Place thawed pastries on a greased baking sheet.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.  The pastry should be golden brown.

For plate service, slice the pastry diagonally and serve crisscross on a bed of couscous.  For buffet service, I usually roll the pastries wider and thinner around so they nestle in a buffet pan like enchiladas.  Garnish with a drizzle of sour cream gravy down the middle and a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley and toasted slivered almonds. . . even a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 5, 2011 6:09 pm

    Thanks for those tips, I don’t use phyllo a lot. These look fantastic.

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