Kathy Tsaples’ Kotopita (Chicken Pie)

Kathy Tsaples’ Kotopita (Chicken Pie) is a much-loved family recipe from Thessalia. Kathy’s mother would make this pita for New Year’s Day and as tradition goes, would hide a coin in it. Whoever was lucky enough to find the coin in their slice of the pita, would then have good fortune for the remainder of the year.

Although this is a savoury pita, Kathy’s mum would sprinkle the pita with a little sugar when it came out of the oven and say to her family, <<Να γλυκάνουμε τον καινούργιο χρόνο>> – “to sweeten the New Year!’ So even if you weren’t lucky enough to find the coin, you still believed a sweet year was ahead of you!

So make this pita and you too can beckon a little sweetness into your year!

This recipe is found in Kathy’s first cookbook – Sweet Greek Simple Food & Sumptuous Feasts – a book that grace’s the cookbook shelves of many of our homes and is referenced often by all of us!

Thank you Kathy @sweetgreekshop for allowing me to share your special recipe and story!

Kathy Tsaples' Kotopita

A traditional New Year's Day chicken pie sprinkled with sugar for a sweet start to the new year!

Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Greek
Keyword chicken, chicken pie

Ingredients

For the dough you will need…

  • 1 kg special white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil(EVOO)
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 ½ cups water

For the filling you will need…

  • 5 chicken marylands
  • 6 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 3 onions, finely diced
  • dough 
  • 1⁄2 cup course semolina
  • 1⁄2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup kefalotiri, finely grated
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1⁄2 cup EVOO
  • a pinch of allspice
  • sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp white pepper
  • You will also need a 40cm round baking dish

For the basting mixture….

  • Mix together ½ cup EVOO with ½ cup melted butter

Instructions

Preparing the dough

  1. Mix flour and salt

  2. Add the EVOO, vinegar and water and form into a dough

  3. Place dough into a bowl and cover with a damp towel

  4. Leave for at least one hour to rest

  5. Divide into 10equal balls

  6. Using a regular rolling pin, flatten each ball out into 15-20cm discs

  7. Baste each disc with the basting mixture

  8. Stack the discs, one on top of the other, on a plate and cover with the damp towel

  9. Pop them in the fridge for half an hour

Preparing the chicken filling

  1. Wash your chicken and poach it in a big pot gently until it falls off the bone

  2. Discard bones and chop chicken meat into pieces (3 x 3 x 3cm)

  3. In a pan, sauté the onions with the salt

  4. Add the chicken pieces and the spring onions

  5. Take off heat and allow to cool

  6. Once cooled, add the eggs, cheese, semolina, cream and pepper

  7. Taste the salt level and adjust to taste

  8. Add the pinch of allspice

  9. Add a washed and foil covered coin to the filling if you are serving the kotopita as a Vasilopita (New’sYears Day lucky coin pie)

Preparing the kotopita

  1. Generously baste a 40cm diameter round baking dish with the basting mixture

  2. Take the dough discs out of the fridge

  3. Take one disc and place it on your work surface

  4. Pick up the edge of the disc and gently stretch the dough outwards

  5. Move your hands approximately 5cm anticlockwise, pick up the edge of the dough disc there and gently stretch the dough outwards

  6. Continue moving your hands anticlockwise and stretching the fillo until the fillo is 50-55cm in diameter

  7. Pick up the fillo and lay it in the pan – allow any excess fillo to hang over the edges of the pan

  8. Repeat with 4 more dough discs

  9. Add the filling to the pan

  10. Repeat fillo process with remaining dough discs

  11. Cut and remove any thick fillo edges from all the fillo layers

  12. Pull the overhanging fillo, as one, away from the pan, twist it to form a braid and lay it down on top of the upper fillo layers in the pan

  13. Brush the top pastry with the oil and butter, and bake at 180°C for at least an 1 hour – until the top and bottom are golden brown

  14.  During baking, cover with foil if the pastry is browning too quickly

Serving the kotopita

  1. Once out of the oven, slice and serve with a sprinkling of sugar on top

    Kali Orexi and Happy New Year!

Key Points

  • The fillo making process described here is slightly different to the process described in Kathy’s book. I stretch all the fillo sheets individually, however, Kathy stretches 5 fillo sheets simultaneously to create the base of the kotopita and 5 fillo sheets individually for the top of the kotopita.
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