In January, after eating our way through the holidays, it’s nice to have something that feels healthier! We’ve been making one of our favorite recipes for years and enjoy them all year, both as winter comfort food and for summer picnics.
Anna adds: These keep well in the freezer, too. I like to keep a bag on hand for when my husband needs to take a lunch to work!
For the Crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and rolling
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 packet or 2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl
1 1/3 cups warm water (between 100F and 110F)
1 egg, beaten, to brush pies before baking
For the filling:
1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped
1 1/2 pounds of broccoli, stems removed and crowns chopped into small pieces
2 Tablespoons onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 400F. Slice chicken breast in half horizontally, spread olive oil on each side with a little salt and roast for about 20 minutes, until done and juices run clear. Let cool for a few minutes and chop. Rotisserie chicken may be used instead.
Place chopped broccoli and onion in a small saucepan with about 1/2 cup of water. Steam on medium high heat for about 5-10 minutes until tender, but still bright green. Drain thoroughly and place in a large mixing bowl. Add thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Set aside to cool.
For the crust: Mix flour, sugar, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add salt, olive oil, and water. Mix until dough forms. Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and turn out dough. Knead to bring the dough together, about 1 minute, then knead for about 5 minutes, until dough is smooth. Pour a little oil into a clean bowl, place dough in it and turn the dough to cover with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.
Add cheese and chicken to cooled broccoli mixture.
Punch down dough and place on lightly-floured counter. Divide into 8 pieces. Roll into 8 8-inch circles, adding a bit of flour to counter as needed to keep dough from sticking. Add about 3/4 cup of filling to each circle and crimp. The cheese tends to leak out during baking, so make sure you’ve crimped each pie well.
Place on a greased or parchment-covered baking sheet. Brush each pie with beaten egg and let rise for 20 minutes. Bake at 400F for about 12 minutes or until top and bottom is golden brown. Serve immediately or have at room temperature for lunches or picnics.
Yield: 8 servings