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Russian Chicken Pie Recipe - Kurnik

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Russian Chicken Pie or Kurnik

Russian Chicken Pie or Kurnik

© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
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. I love this food-processor cream cheese pastry crust from Norene Gilletz's "The New Food Processor Bible 30th Anniversary Edition (Whitecap Books, 2011). Her recipe has become my new go-to pastry for kołaczki and hamantaschen and the dough can be made sweet by adding 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.

Kurnik is a lot like Polish kulebiak, which is known as kulebyaka in Russian. So, salmon would be a good substitute for the chicken or sautéed cabbage for a vegetarian version of this recipe. 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 in for added flavor.

Here is a larger photo of Russian Chicken Pie or Kurnik.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6-8 servings Russian Chicken Pie

Ingredients:

  • Norene Gilletz's Cream Cheese Pastry:
  • 4 ounces cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Chicken Pie Filling:
  • 2 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 cup rinsed rice
  • 2 large thinly sliced onions
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 cups cooked, diced chicken meat
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 finely chopped hard-cooked eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • Egg Wash:
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Preparation:

  1. How to 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.

  2. How to 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.

  3. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet and 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.

  4. How to assemble the dish: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread 1/3 of the cooked rice into the bottom of the ungreased pan. Next layer 1/2 of the chicken mixture and then 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. Then, 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.

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