Weekly Winner – The Great Cover-Up

Curried Chicken and Potato Pie Just like the right outfit, phyllo dough can cover a multitude of sins.  It doesn’t really matter what is under or in it, it’s going to look fabulous.

In general, I hate working with phyllo.  I don’t know what I do wrong.  I know I have to cover the unused sheets to keep them from drying out, and I know I have to brush them each with butter (that’s what I love about phyllo), but mine always seems to start out crumbly and in shreds right out of the box.  Having said that, what I have recently come to learn, is that it simply doesn’t matter.  Put a final glossy coat of butter on the top, pop it in the over and it will come out stunningly beautiful (and obviously tasty – again, it’s the butter).

This week’s wrestling match with phyllo was Curried Chicken-and-Potato Pie from Everyday Food Magazine.  It was a bitterly cold, windy night here in Chicago and having this warm, fragrant concoction come out of the oven was soul-warming indeed.  One final admission on my version:  I could have sworn I had frozen peas in the freezer.  Apparently I did not.  So as it desperately needed something green in the mix, I added some scallions.  It was good, however I believe the peas would have been much better.  Check your freezer, people…just sayin’.

Curried Chicken-and-Potato Pie

Ingredients:

 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1/2 stick melted

2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger

2 teaspoons curry powder

4 cups frozen hash browns (1 pound)

1/2 pound ground chicken

1 cup frozen peas

Salt and pepper

6 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add ginger and curry powder and cook 2 minutes. Add hash browns, chicken, and 2 tablespoons water and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until chicken is cooked through and hash browns are tender, 15 minutes. Stir in peas; season with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly.

Lay 1 sheet phyllo on a work surface and lightly brush with melted butter. (Keep extra phyllo covered while you work.) Stack remaining 5 sheets on top, rotating each sheet slightly so edges are offset and brushing each with butter. Gently transfer stack to a buttered 9-inch glass pie plate. Fill with chicken mixture, then fold edges over top. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

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