Metsovo

Aromanian kotopita (chicken pie)

Traditional Metsovite pie with local home-raised chicken.
Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-Aromanian kotopita (chicken pie)
Before cooking...

In the village of Metsovo, every household raised its own poultry to secure a steady supply of fresh eggs. Of course, those naturally-fed home-raised chickens were nothing like the industrial ones we eat today. Their eggs and meat were rich in flavor and nutrients, which is why this traditional chicken pie was one of the best quick meals for the Metsovites during the unforgiving Pindos winters.

Aromanian kotopita (chicken pie)

Ingredients

If you can find a village-born farm-raised chicken, your pie will be closer to the traditional recipe, plus highly nutritious. However, you can make the Aromanian kotopita with a free-range chicken that may share some beneficial properties with the traditional home-raised chicken. Additionally, it produces a richer, more flavorful broth than an industrially raised chicken.

For the traditional filo:

  • 500 g all-purpose flour
  • 200 g water, lukewarm
  • 50 g olive oil
  • 15 g salt
  • 10 g vinegar

For the broth and the filling:

  • 1-1 ½ kg traditional home-raised chicken
  • 1 aromatic bouquet (1 celery, 1 onion with 4 cloves pinned on it, 1 carrot, 1 dried laurel leaf, and a few peppercorns)
  • 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 250 g onions, finely chopped
  • 250 g leeks, finely chopped
  • 150 g feta cheese, grated (or 75 g feta cheese and 75 g metsovone)
  • 75 g olive oil
  • 75 g sheep butter
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 4 eggs
  • Salt (to preference)
  • Pepper (to preference)

Note: For the aromatic bouquet, you’ll need a cheesecloth and some twine.

Execution

  1. In a large bowl, gently stir the ingredients for the traditional filo dough except for the water (flour, salt, olive oil, and vinegar). Add the water slowly while mixing with a spoon. When the liquids are absorbed, knead the mixture until the dough is smooth and non-sticky. Roll it into a ball, cover it with a towel, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  2. When the dough is ready, divide it into 7 even balls and roll them into 7 thin sheets with the rolling pin.
  3. Put the ingredients for the aromatic bouquet (celery, onion with clovers, carrot, dried laurel leaf, peppercorns) in a cheesecloth and close it with a piece of twine.
  4. In a large cooking pot, add water, the chicken, the aromatic bouquet, the lemon juice, and the salt. Bring to a boil, and cook until the chicken is ready.
  5. Remove the chicken from the pot without turning off the heat. Remove the skin, pull the meat from the bones, and leave it aside. Meanwhile, let the broth cook until it’s down at 1/10 of its initial volume, and save it for another recipe.
  6. In a pot, heat some olive oil and saute the finely chopped onions and leeks. Remove from the heat, and add the pulled chicken and the salt and pepper. Stir well and leave the filling aside to cool.
  7. When the chicken reaches room temperature, add the grated feta cheese, the finely chopped parsley, and the eggs, and mix thoroughly.
  8. Set the oven to “upper and lower heat” and preheat it to 160 °C.
  9. Brush a baking pan with butter. Lay a filo sheet, brush with butter, and repeat with three more filo sheets brushing with butter in between. Spread the filling evenly and cover with the remaining filo sheets brushing with butter in between.
  10. Score the pie surface into pieces with a knife and drizzle with water and vinegar.
  11. Place the pan on the lower rack and bake for 90 minutes (approximately) until the top is golden brown.
  12. Let the kotopita cool for a bit and serve.

This mouthwatering chicken pie with the crunchy crust and flavorful filling is a wholesome meal in its own right, the perfect pickup for any time of the day.

After cooking...

For centuries, the endless rushing waters of the rivers and streams in the Epirote highlands powered the region’s many watermills. Some are still preserved today, offering a glimpse of their multiple purposes, essential to the people’s survival. Just follow the stone-paved path from Metsovo to the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, and you will bump into the wonderfully restored traditional Watermill of Ginas with its grain mill, fulling mill, and laundry tank.

Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-After cooking...