Yesterday was National Pie day and while most people would think to celebrate with a sweet and delicious dessert, I thought I'd be different and serve a savory version. This broccoli cheese pie isn't anything like the usual quiche variety that most of us are used to. It has all the appearance and flavors of a giant Greek spanikopeta without the spinach!
It's made from broccoli, steamed and chopped up along with sauteed onion, lots of lovely feta cheese, fresh parsley, dill and garlic of course and it's all wrapped up in a nice little crispy phyllo blanket. It's the kind of thing I personally love to eat - hot or cold; however, I'll admit I made a slight slip up yesterday and added lemon zest and juice just because I've got a ton of them around right now. A lighter hand would have been better, as the lemon commandeered the party, so you'll notice in the recipe below I've left it out entirely. It didn't make it inedible - just different. It would be perfect on its own with a tossed salad for lunch or dinner, but as you know we don't do meatless much around here and that's where the chicken comes in.
Don't ask me why it's called "Patio" chicken because I have no clue but this one's from Celebrated Seasons, one of my collection of Junior League Cookbooks and it's really very good. I used skinless boneless chicken thighs, covered them in a spiced up crumb crust and baked them in a 400 oven for 15 minutes, after which they're slathered in mayonnaise and returned to the oven to finish cooking.
They're very tender, moist and really flavorful - in fact, it would be fabulous picnic food, well wrapped and in a cooler of course. It'll also make an awesome chicken sandwich with sliced tomatoes and maybe a slice or two of crisp bacon -- but we digress. That'll have to be a whole different story.
Greek Style Broccoli Cheese Pie (from JBug’s Kitchen adapted from Celebrated Seasons, A Junior League Cookbook)
10 to 12 sheets phyllo pastry
1 small onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
20 ounces broccoli florets, steamed until tender, drained and chopped
3 eggs, beaten
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (I used one with Mediterranean Herbs)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in a small skillet and sauté onion until transparent. Add garlic and cook an additional minute until garlic is fragrant. Move to a large bowl to cool slightly. Add broccoli, eggs, feta, parsley, dill, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
Arrange 6 to 8 sheets of phyllo pastry on a board, staggering layers and brushing lightly with butter between each layer. Place into a 9 inch spring form pan, allowing the sides to overlap the edges of the pan. Pour filling into the pan and fold overlapped edges toward center of pan to partially cover filling. Arrange 4 sheets of phyllo together on a board, brushing lightly with butter in between. Using a sharp knife, cut a circle to fit the top of your spring form pan. Place circle of phyllo sheets on top of filling. Using a sharp knife, score the top sheets into 8 wedges. Brush top with remaining butter.
Place spring form pan onto a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake in 350 oven for 50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove sides from pan and slide pie onto serving plate. Cut into wedges.
Patio Chicken (from JBug’s Kitchen adapted from Celebrated Seasons, A Junior League Cookbook)
2 pounds chicken – I used skinless boneless thighs
1 cup dry Italian breadcrumbs
1-1/2 teaspoons onion salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon summer savory
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Preheat oven to 400. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray and set aside. Combine breadcrumbs, onion salt, pepper, garlic powder, summer savory and curry powder in zip top bag. Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towel, leaving a little moisture on them. Add pieces one at a time to the bag of spiced crumbs and shake to coat. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with mayonnaise, sprinkling any remaining crumbs on top. Lower oven heat to 350 and continue to bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until tender. Serve hot or cold.