New Year’s Chicken Pie

Variations of this festive pie are baked in many parts of Central Greece, in Epirus and Thrace during Christmas and the New Year. Pork is often used instead of chicken, and leeks, or a combination of onions and leeks make the filling creamy. The lucky coin was hidden inside this savory pie, as in the old, frugal days people could not afford to bake special cakes, like the vassilopita. Each family member gets a piece, starting with the older ones and whoever gets the symbolic coin is rewarded with a gift of money and starts the year with an advantage.

4-kotopita-cut

Home-rolled phyllo is essential, but even commercial frozen phyllo works here as the egg and olive oil topping adds the desired flavor and crunch.

The recipe is my friend’s Stamatia Stylou, from Livena, a Greek village in southern Albania. Here in Kea we make the pie with local free-range rooster—about three times the price of the supermarket chicken! But it is worth every cent as it has the old-fashioned flavor that I remember from my childhood. Back then poultry was not industrially produced and chicken was the most expensive meat in Athens…

See the Recipe: Festive Chicken-Rice-Onion-Feta Pie with Olive oil-Egg Crust (Kotopita from Epirus)

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