|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Servings: 6 to 8|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 36g||47%|
|Saturated Fat 18g||90%|
|Total Carbohydrate 35g||13%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||8%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
This recipe for Russian chicken pie or kurnik is made with chicken, rice, hard-cooked eggs, mushrooms, and a flaky crust. It is often served at holidays, especially Easter. Kurnik varies from family to family. It can be made with two crusts or just a top crust; some recipes call for blini-like pancakes to separate the layers of ingredients; it can be round or rectangular in shape; and when it comes to the crust, well, anything goes. It can be made with pie dough, savory pastry dough, or puff pastry.
We chose a food-processor cream cheese pastry crust from Norene Gilletz's The New Food Processor Bible: 30th Anniversary Edition (Whitecap Books, 2011), reprinted here with permission. Her recipe has become a new go-to pastry for kołaczki and hamantaschen, and the dough can be made sweet by adding 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
- For the Norene Gilletz's Cream Cheese Pastry:
- 4 ounces butter (cold, cut into chunks)
- 4 ounces cream cheese (cold, cut into chunks)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- For the Chicken Pie Filling:
- 2 cups water (or chicken broth)
- 1 cup rice (rinsed)
- 2 large onions (thinly sliced)
- 8 ounces mushrooms (sliced)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 cups cooked chicken meat (diced)
- 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper (to taste)
- 4 hard-cooked eggs (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon dill (chopped)
- For the Egg Wash:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water (beaten)
Make the Pastry
Using the steel blade of a food processor, place all ingredients into the work bowl.
Process until dough forms a ball, 18 to 20 seconds. Chilling isn't necessary.
When ready, roll on a lightly floured surface to the measurements of the pan you are going to cover plus about 2 inches on each side. An ungreased 12x7-inch baking dish works well for this recipe.
Make the Filling
Bring 2 cups water or chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. If using water, add salt.
Stir in rinsed and drained rice. Return to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender.
Uncover, fluff with a fork and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add onions and mushrooms, and sauté until onions are tender and somewhat caramelized.
Stir cornstarch into half-and-half and add to onions along with 1 cup chicken broth, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 1 minute.
Add chicken, parsley, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, mix the hard-cooked eggs with the dill, and set aside.
Assemble the Dish
Heat oven to 400 F.
Spread 1/3 of the cooked rice into the bottom of the ungreased pan then layer 1/2 of the chicken mixture and 1/2 of the egg-dill mixture. Spread on another 1/3 of the rice, the rest of the chicken mixture and the rest of the egg-dill mixture. Spread on the remaining rice.
Place rolled-out pastry crust on top. Turn the edges of overhanging pastry to the inside. Brush pastry completely with egg-water wash.
Using the back of a fork, make decorative crisscross marks all over. Cut a slit in the center for an air vent. Alternatively, you can make fancy leaves or bird shapes out of leftover pastry dough to decorate the top.
Place dish on a baking sheet to catch any drips, and bake 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Serve hot.
- If using chicken, you can use rotisserie chicken, boiled chicken, or canned chicken.
- If boiling your own chicken, save the boiling water to cook the rice for added flavor.
- Kurnik is a lot like Polish kulebiak, which is known as kulebyaka in Russian. So, salmon would be a good substitute for the chicken.
- Try sautéed cabbage for a vegetarian version of this recipe.