“Spanikochickitopita!” Say that fast three times

In Recipies on April 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Crispy "spanikochickitopita" with quinoa and spinach pilaf

What the heck is spanikochickitopita?

It is what happens when you wrap Greek-seasoned chicken breasts in alternating layers of spinach leaves and phyllo.

It hit the Phyne Dyner’s Shabbat table Friday night.

Phyllo is that thinly rolled dough.  It is paper thin and delicate.  If you spread a bit of butter or olive oil (I used pareve “Heart Smart” spread.) on it and set it in layers, you get the most unbelievably flaky pastry.  Wrap it around another food, like meat, chicken, or fish, and you can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

I got a little experimental and alternated layers of phyllo dough with layers of spinach leaves, wrapped the whole mess around partially cooked chicken breasts, and generously seasoned them with Greek flavor blends.

Phyne Dyner’s Greek Seasoning

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp dry oregano (preferably Greek)

1 tsp dry rosemary, crushed

1 tsp dry mint, crushed

½ tsp dry lemon peel

Mix all of the ingredients (try to crush them together) and store in an airtight container in a dark place.


1 chicken breast per person

½ pkg thawed phyllo

½ to 1 C spinach per chicken breast

½ C melted butter or non-dairy spread (or olive oil)

2 TBS olive oil

Greek Seasoning

Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season each chicken breast with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Brown the chicken (4-7 minutes per side), remove, and set aside to cool.

NOTE:  Keep the phyllo slightly moist by covering it with a damp towel when you are not using it.  I keep a spray mister handy and lay down a bit of mist on the phyllo before covering it.  If phyllo dries out, it gets very brittle and almost impossible to work with.

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

On a cookie sheet or cutting board, spread a bit of melted butter (or non-dairy spread or olive oil) using a silicone pastry brush.  Lay one or two layers of phyllo down.  Spread more melted butter (or other) on top of the phyllo. Repeat 2-3 more times with phyllo and butter.  Cut the thick stems from the spinach leaves and spread them in a thin layer on top of the phyllo.  Repeat the phyllo layering.  Top with one final layer of spinach leaves.  Dust generously with Greek seasonings.  Place a partially cooked chicken breast near the corner of the phyllo/spinach layers, turning it so you will be rolling the breast into the dough/spinach.  Now, carefully roll the phyllo and spinach around the chicken breast, as though you are rolling it up in a newspaper.

Place each rolled up breast in a well-oiled, metal baking pan.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the interior temperature of each roll is 165F (chicken is “almost” fully cooked).  Increase oven temperature to 400F and return the rolls to the oven for ten minutes, or until the crust is deep golden.  Re-check the interior temperature which should now be 180F to ensure proper cooking of the chicken.

Serve with tahini, hummus, or Israeli eggplant dip (salat hatzalim) and a Greek salad.

Reader “DH” entirely coincidentally submitted the following recipe she just tried that is a bit similar to mine.  It uses puff pastry dough instead of phyllo and offers a creamy gruyere center (for those who do not keep “no mixing meat and dairy” kosher) around shredded rotisserie chicken and peas.  It looks faster and easier than chicken Kiev or chicken cordon bleu…hence the realsimplefood tag!  “DH” says these are great!  Here’s the link:

Thanks for the recipe link, “DH”.


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