Do you ever have leftover filo pastry bits? As a filo addict I have those all the time (especially with my individual rolls). Now that I discovered genuine (though expensive) frozen Greek filo, they started to worry me much more than before. A heap of unused small bits of filo suddenly reminded me of a very unusual chicken “pie” spotted in Hairy Bikers’ Perfect Pies: chicken in a creamy sauce topped with crushed filo pieces. It looked original and delicious enough to stay engraved in my memory. I decided to use their idea of filo top, suspecting it would be perfect for any leftover strips and I was right.
I didn’t follow Hairy Bikers’ filling recipe since I happened to have some other leftovers (curry sauce and unused broccoli stalks from Pork and Broccoli in My Favourite Indian Curry). In fact, my filo rescuing plan became a triple leftover dish! I added some chicken meat, mushrooms and a carrot and the result, though looking quite messy, was a meal of delightful creamy and crunchy goodness. The airy crushed filo topping is so good, I am ready to destroy some whole pastry sheets to make it even if I don’t have leftovers!
As I have mentioned, I didn’t use the pie filling recipe from Hairy Bikers’ book, but it seems absolutely delicious, as well as all the other imaginative pies and tarts this huge source of recipes contains, so make sure you check it whether you are a fan of open tarts, British-style covered pies, mini tartlets, pasties or other similar dishes.
TIPS: You can, of course, make the curry from the scratch (see the recipe here) or use any other sauce of your choice (tomato sauce, for example). I had only 250 ml (about 1 cup) leftover curry sauce, so I have stretched it with some additional coconut milk.
Any vegetable or mushroom can be used here, but I’d advise pre-cooking briefly the mushrooms and the tough vegetables (carrots or broccoli stalks) but not broccoli florets or courgettes, for example.
Preparation: about 1 hour
Ingredients (serves two hungry people; fills a 16 x 16 cm baking dish):
1 chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
stalks and branches from one medium brocoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
5 rather big cultivated mushrooms (I have used ones called cremini in US and Canada), cut into four
about 400 ml (about 13.5 fl oz) leftover curry sauce (I had only 250 ml, so I added some coconut milk)
1 medium carrot, cut into thick half slices
about 3 sheets of filo/phyllo (can be whole or leftover strips)
oil or butter or coconut fat to brush filo
Preheat the oven to 200°C (392°F).
Heat the leftover sauce (adding more liquid, such as coconut milk, if needed).
As soon as it starts boiling, add the chicken, the carrots, the brocoli stalks and the mushrooms.
Let it simmer until the chicken is done.
If you use softer vegetables, such as courgette or brocoli florets, put them into the sauce about two minutes before the end (unless you like them rather mushy).
Taste the sauce, adjust the flavours and pour everything into a baking dish (you should have roughly 2/3-3/4 of the height filled; I have used here a 16×16 cm dish.
Spread the filo sheets or torn pieces flat and brush them slightly with the fat of your choice.
(If you use whole filo sheets, not leftovers, cut them into six or more squares).
Crush the filo in your palms and place on top of the curry making sure you cover well the whole dish.
Bake until golden (about 15 minutes).