Saturday, April 2, 2011

Feta Chicken in Phyllo

After the birth of each of our girls, a number of our friends lovingly brought us over the most delicious dinners. I remember them fondly, and  have re-made several of them over the years. Paula (of Paula's Black Bean and Corn Salsa) brought us this Feta Chicken in Phyllo that was savory, crispy, and just perfect. It visually looked impressive, traveled well, and tasted great. But because the recipe used phyllo pastry sheets (which I had never used) and believing phyllo to be finicky, I was a bit intimidated to recreate Paula's delicious dinner.

Boy am I glad I finally got up the gumption to tackle phyllo. It was not nearly as scary as I had made it out to be. Following the recipe and keeping the sheets covered with saran wrap and a wet towel kept the phyllo from drying out and putting the dish together was as simple as sauteing a couple ingredients, brushing the pastry with butter and breadcrumbs (repeat), adding the filling, rolling and baking.

The phyllo sheets I purchased were actually much shorter than the recipe indicated, so I ended up making three Feta Chicken Rolls instead of the two the recipe states. Pictured above is about 1/3 of one of the rolls. Also, I strongly suggest that the white wine is not omitted or substituted. It adds a really nice flavor to the dish, and you can either drink or freeze the remainder. I vote for drink, but there is something to be said for having smaller quantities in the freezer when you need it.

If you have a fear of phyllo, this is a great recipe to conquer it with. You'll be rewarded with not only the confidence to tackle other phyllo dishes, but also a delicious dinner.

Feta Chicken in Phyllo
Yield: 6-8 main dish servings, or 12-16 appetizer servings
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 10 oz. fresh spinach, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about a handful)
  • 2 Tbsp. dry white wine
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 c. cubed cooked chicken
  • 10 sheets (or 15 if the sheets are smaller than 16"x12") of phyllo pastry, thawed if frozen
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 2/3 c. dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in feta, wine, pepper, egg, and chicken.

Preheat oven to 375°. Place phyllo on flat surface. Trim to 16x12 inches. Working with 1 sheet at a time, keeping remaining covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. bread crumbs. Continue layering, brushing with butter, and sprinkling with bread crumbs, for a total of 5 layers.

Spread half (or a third, if using smaller sheets) of the chicken mixture in a 2" strip, along short side of phyllo, leaving 1/2" border. Roll up, jelly roll style, starting with chicken mixture edge. Repeat process with remaining ingredients to form a second (and third) roll(s).

Place seam side down, 2" apart, on large baking sheet. Brush with butter. With sharp knife, cut diagonally, halfway through phyllo layers, in 1" increments. Sprinkle with paprika and bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes. Slice along cuts and serve.

Source: Colorado Collage

1 comment:

  1. Flakey and tasty. I fully expect some baklava soon :)