Why It Works
- Cooking the chicken in butter browns it quickly, keeping the interior juicy.
- Scrunching up the phyllo topping yields a great textured look, while also making the ultra-thin pastry easy to work with.
Cozy up to this filling Greek-inspired dish, which turns traditional spanakopita, made with feta, spinach, dill, and scallions, into a one-skillet meal with the addition of chicken and a garlicky gravy.
- 1 pound fresh baby spinach leaves, washed
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, chopped into 1-inch chunks
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup homemade chicken stock or low-sodium broth, plus more as needed
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 3 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
- 1 small bunch dill, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 6 to 8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed and covered with a towel
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add spinach, a handful at a time, until the pan is full; you may have to cook the spinach in batches to ensure that it cooks evenly. Turn the spinach often until just wilted, then transfer to a colander and press out as much water as you can. Continue until all of the spinach is wilted and pressed.
Pour off any excess water in the skillet and place back over medium heat. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the pan and add chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning once, until the edges are lightly golden, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in same skillet and add garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, then mix in flour. Stir together until the mixture forms a golden paste. Whisk in 1/2 cup chicken stock. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Whisk in half-and-half.
Add feta cheese, scallions, and dill and stir, allowing the feta to melt. Remove from heat. Return chicken and spinach to skillet, mixing well. If the sauce has thickened too much, add more chicken stock to reach the desired consistency, keeping in mind that the mixture will thicken even more when baking in the oven. Season with salt and pepper.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Lay a sheet of phyllo on a work surface. Brush with melted butter, then scrunch up the sheet and set it on top of the spinach mixture in the skillet. Repeat with remaining phyllo until the skillet is completely covered.
Bake until phyllo is golden and crisp on top, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, garnish with additional dill, and serve warm.
Cast iron skillet, pastry brush