Pilaf Pie with Chicken, Sultanas and Sweet Spices

June 2011: I recently found myself (quite excitedly and SO happily) part of a fabulous group on twitter which, with the hashtag #LetsLunch, has a virtual lunch each month with everyone in the bunch “bringing along” something great by posting a photo and recipe of that dish. It sounds like such a brilliant idea.

So this month (my first and hopefully not my last!) the theme is PIES . . . so I have been wracking my brain all month (as I like to do…wrack) what pie to bring along. Much to my own surprise I have decided on a pie that is not in our book. Yep, NOT. It could actually be in the next book though!

(Now, if I’d gone down the Monday Morning Cooking Club route, I could have put in the unique and special ‘Betty’s fish pie’, Talia’s gorgeous raspberry tart or those delicious little meat perogen.)

But I decided to return to my early cooking days when I first moved to Sydney and spent a lot of time at Accoutrement cooking school doing a lot of really great classes.

One of the most memorable chefs was definitely Joanne Weir from California (Chez Panisse fame). She brought us American cooking, Alice Waters style. We learnt about calzone and red onion bread for the first time, about tarts and risottos, and so much more. She was an inspiration! And of course we bought all her books.

One of my favourite recipes is one from her 1994 book “From Tapas to Meze“, a book which takes you on a wonderful journey around the Mediterranean. This chicken pie (from the very exotic “The Levant” aka Turkey and the Middle East) was one of my absolute favourite things to make for years and years. And for a while it became a staple in my Australian kitchen – anyone who had a Sunday lunch at our place in the 90s, would have eaten this pie.

So it was a great trip down memory lane to make it again. And it tasted just as good (and exactly the same) as it did all those years ago.

It’s a terrific recipe that should really be started the day before eating.

Pilaf Pie with Chicken, Sultanas and Sweet Spices

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Mains
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 1 pie


  • 1 whole chicken (medium)
  • 2 onions roughly chopped
  • 1 carrots
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 3 stems flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp Peppercorns
  • 3/4 cup Long Grain Rice washed under running water
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts toasted
  • 1/2 cup Sultanas
  • 250 grams Butter
  • 1 packet Phyllo Pastry
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch Ground Cloves


  • Chicken. In a large saucepan put 8 cups water with chicken, onion, carrot, bay, parsley, pepper and bring to the boil. Simmer 1 hour, uncovered. Remove from heat and allow chicken to cool in water. Remove chicken from stock and take meat from bones, then chop roughly. Set meat aside, moisten with ¼ cup stock. Return the bones to the saucepan and simmer until liquid reduced by half. Strain and reserve, overnight if possible so the fat can be removed the next day.
  • Place the rice in a bowl with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and pour 3 1/2 cups boiling water over the rice. Let stand until the water cools to lukewarm. Drain and wash the rice under cold water. Drain.
  • Pour 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, a pinch of salt, the pinenuts and the raisins into a saucepan. Bring to the boil. Add the rice, reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the rice absorbs all the water and is cooked, 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to stand 10 mins.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Pastry. Brush a 9-inch springform pan with butter. Line the pan with 1 sheet phyllo that will hang over the outside of the pan and brush with butter. Arrange 6 more sheets, brushing each later lightly with butter and turning the pan slightly so that the overhanging phyllo is even all around.
  • Toss together the chicken, rice, eggs and spices. Taste and season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place the filling in the pan and pat down slightly. Cut 8 circles of phyllo the same size as the pan. Place 1 circle on top of the filling, brushing lightly with butter. Place 3 more circles on top, brushing lightly with butter between each layer. Fold in the first layer of overhanging phyllo to cover and seal the top. Brush with butter. Repeat to fold in all layers. Place the remaining 4 circles on top, brushing lightly with butter between each layer. Brush the top with butter.
  • Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

For all the other LetsLunch posts, check out these links:

Anastasia‘s Strawberry Pie in Jars at Can It You Nit!

Caitlin‘s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Lemon-Lime Ice-Cream at Caitlin Shetterly

Cathy‘s Nutella Hand Pies at Show Food Chef

Charissa‘s Lime-Custard & Curd Pie at Zest Bakery

Danielle‘s Chicken Pot Pie at Beyond The Plate

Denise‘s Summer Chicken Pot Pie at Chez Us

Emma‘s Chinese Sausage & Roasted Sweet Potato Hand Pies at Dreaming of Pots and Pans

Linda‘s Dirt Pie with Compost Cookie Crust at Free Range Cookies

Lisa‘s Pilaf Pie with Chicken, Sultanas & Sweet Spices at Monday Morning Cooking Club

Mai‘s Mother-In-Law’s Three-Recipe Lemon Meringue Pie at Cooking in the Fruit Bowl

Rashda‘s Pecan Pie at Hot Curries & Cold Beer

Rebecca‘s Spanakopita & Rhubarb Crisp at Grongar Blog

Steff‘s Berry-Lemonade Icebox Pie at The Kitchen Trials

 Cheryl’s Japanese Curry Pot Pie at A Tiger in the Kitchen

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