My friend Victoria (remember her?) knows I am always on the lookout for great recipes to share with you. Not that I don’t have enough recipes in the house (this reminds me I have to organize them nicely - currently they live in a state of total mess) but I want unusual recipes and these kinds do not come by very often. So, one day Victoria called and said she had received a very unusual (key word!) recipe from her niece in Ukraine and that she thought it could be just right to feed my insatiable hunger for recipes. I grew impatient and wanted to get my hands on the recipe as soon as possible. Victoria added that it was a pie but not your regular pie, that it was one of a kind pie, and that she had already made it once, and that it was absolutely mind-blowing and palate-blowing, and that she had never seen anything like that before, and that it tasted like nothing else out there, and that the recipe was not known to many, and that if I wanted we could make it together.
“What? Really? Wait, we are coming.” The kids and I piled into the car right away and off we drove to Victoria’s house which, luckily, is only 5 minutes from us. The “cooks” got down to business as soon as we arrived. While kids we going crazy in the background, Victoria and I baked 2 thin cheesy layers that we cut in half and filled with generous amounts of ground turkey (you can also use ground chicken - in fact, the original recipe calls for chicken) then off we sent the assembled pie into the oven.
Then we waited impatiently chatting away until the pie came out of the oven. Wow and Holy Pie! Let me tell you guys, this was indeed the most unusual pie I had ever seen or tasted before! It was tall and gorgeous. And delicious. Try it. It is worth it. Absolutely worth it.
Thank you Victoria for this one of a kind recipe and for letting me “borrow” your hands for the photo shoot.
Tall Chicken or Turkey Pie
Serves about 10
For the Cheese Layers
3 tablespoonfuls mayonnaise
3 tablespoonfuls semolina flour or all-purpose flour
14 ounces (400 gr) grated hard cheese (you can use a mixture of cheddar, mozzarella and any other hard cheese you like or a combination, but make sure there is at least one type of yellow cheese)
For the Filling
2 pounds (1 kg) ground chicken or turkey
6 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh dill, to taste (optional; if using, do not overdo - add just a little to add some flavor)
Line two 13 X 11-inch (33 x 28-cm) baking sheets with parchment (baking paper).
Preheat the oven to 355F (180C).
Now, prepare the batter for the cheese layers. Using a hand mixer or a balloon whisk, beat the eggs until well blended. Add the mayonnaise, semolina flour or all-purpose flour, and cheese. Stir until well blended (see picture below for consistency).
Divide the mixture in half and pour onto the prepared baking sheets. Level with a spoon.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven until light golden and is just browning around the edges. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool slightly.
Cut each layer into half crosswise, to obtain 4 layers in total. Gently peel off the layers from the parchment paper.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Heat the butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden. Remove from the heat and let cool. Place the ground chicken/turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add the onion, salt, pepper and if using, chopped dill. Knead with your hand until well blended. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 320F (160C).
Now, assemble the pie. Cut out large pieces of foil paper and arrange them on a baking sheet in a crossing manner, so that the foil paper covers the entire bottom of the pan and is extending outside, like in the picture. You will wrap the assembled pie around the foil paper, so make sure its sides are long enough.
Place one cheese layer on the middle of the foil paper. Spread 1/3 of the filling on top.
Cover with another cheese layer, then follow with another 1/3 of the filling.
Continue with the remaining cheese layer and the filling.
Place the last cheese layer on top.
Bring the sides of the foil paper over the pie and wrap them around it. Bake the pie on the middle rack of the oven for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Leave the pie to rest still wrapped in the foil for 10-15 minutes. Open the foil. Transfer the pie to a serving place. Cut and serve.