Kurnik: Russian Chicken Pie

Homemade Chicken Pot Pies Cooling On Rack
diane555 / Getty Images
  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 dish (6-8 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
579 Calories
36g Fat
35g Carbs
28g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 dish (6-8 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 579
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 36g 47%
Saturated Fat 18g 90%
Cholesterol 246mg 82%
Sodium 674mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 28g
Calcium 127mg 10%
*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.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Steps to Make It

Make the Pastry

  1. Using the steel blade of a food processor, place all ingredients into the work bowl.

  2. Process until dough forms a ball, 18 to 20 seconds. Chilling isn't necessary.

  3. 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

  1. Bring 2 cups water or chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. If using water, add salt.

  2. 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.

  3. Uncover, fluff with a fork and remove from heat.

  4. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add onions and mushrooms, and sauté until onions are tender and somewhat caramelized.

  5. 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.

  6. Add chicken, parsley, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat.

  7. In a medium bowl, mix the hard-cooked eggs with the dill, and set aside.

Assemble the Dish

  1. Heat oven to 400 F.

  2. 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.

  3. Place rolled-out pastry crust on top. Turn the edges of overhanging pastry to the inside. Brush pastry completely with egg-water wash.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Tips

  • 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.

Recipe Variations

  • 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.