Rukmini Iyer’s Slow-Cooked Filo Chicken Pie

These chicken thighs, slow-cooked in pomegranate molasses until it falls apart like pulled pork, make a wonderfully rich pie filling. Any leftover chicken filling is also fantastic warmed up in tortillas with sour cream for emergency late night snacking.

For the chicken and pomegranate filling:
• 100g of walnuts
• 400g of chicken thigh, skinless and boneless
10g of butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
350ml of chicken stock
100ml of pomegranate molasses
1/2 tbsp of dark brown sugar
• sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pomegranate, seeds only

To assemble the pies:
6 sheets of filo pastry
60g of butter

For the coriander chutney:
75g of coriander
1 lemon, juice only
50ml of olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1 pinch of sea salt, large

1 Preheat your oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
2 Place the walnuts on a baking tray in a single layer, then toast in the preheated oven for 10 minutes before leaving to cool down completely
Heat the olive oil and half of the butter in a large frying pan and add the chicken thighs. Brown them well for 3–4 minutes on each side until nicely golden brown, then remove and place in a casserole dish
4 Add the remaining butter to the frying pan, add the onions and cook on a medium-high heat for 10 minutes until golden brown, stirring occasionally
5 Lower the oven temperature to 150°C/gas mark 2
6 Transfer the onions to the casserole dish and add the chicken stock, pomegranate molasses, sugar and a good pinch of salt and pepper
Using a rolling pin or food processor, blitz the nuts to a fine powder then add them to the casserole dish. Stir well, then cover the dish and transfer to the oven for 2 hours
8 Once the chicken is cooked, shred the meat with 2 forks (as you would with pulled pork) and stir in the whole pomegranate seeds. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper
9 At this stage, you can cool and refrigerate the filling and complete the pies the next day. If continuing to make the pies the same day, increase the oven temperature to 200°C/gas mark 6
10 Melt the butter in the microwave or in a small pan. Generously brush the inside of the pie dishes with the melted butter, then line each dish with half a sheet of filo pastry, gently pushing it into the edges
11 Butter the pastry on the inside, then repeat with 2 more layers of filo, leaving the extra pastry overlapping outside the dish
12 Place 3–4 heaped tablespoons of the chicken filling into the pie, then layer by layer, fold the filo pastry back over the filling, buttering each layer as you go
13 Butter the top of the pie, then make the remaining pies using the same process. Transfer the pies to the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes until golden brown and crisp
14 Meanwhile, make the coriander chutney. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor, blitz until smooth and adjust the sea salt to taste. Serve alongside the hot pies

Recipe courtesy of Rukmini Iyer for Great British Chefs. To find out more, click here.

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