Lemony Chicken Pies

We've never had a pie we didn't like, but THESE lemon chicken hand pies are to die for. Sarah Hymanson of Kismet dishes all.


  • For the filling:
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground chicken, preferably dark meat
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small leek, white and light green parts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 bulb fennel, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • For the pies:
  • 1/2 (16-ounce) package 9” x 14” phyllo pastry sheets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Kosher salt
  • For the tahini sauce:
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 6 tablespoons water
  • For plating:
  • Tahini sauce
  • Sumac
  • Mixed herbs
  • Edible flowers


  1. Filling: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add chicken and cook, stirring to break up clumps, until chicken is browned there is no more pink, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Transfer chicken and remaining juices to a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in same skillet over medium-high. Add onion, leek, fennel, garlic, bay leaves, marjoram, mint and clove and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 10 minutes. Add chicken and its juices, plus lemon juice, zest, salt and pine nuts. Stir to combine and cook down until moist, but not all of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
  3. Pies: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a sheet of phyllo on a cutting board. Brush lightly with olive oil and top with a second sheet of phyllo, pressing gently to adhere. Brush with more olive oil. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut oiled phyllo into three 3-inch-wide strips. Add about 2 tablespoons chicken mixture near 1 corner of a strip on end nearest you, then fold corner of phyllo over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Continue folding strip, maintaining triangle shape. Put triangle, seam side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash and top with sesame seeds. Repeat with remaining phyllo and mixture to make 9 pies.
  4. Bake pies until phyllo is golden brown and crisp, about 9 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Tahini: Combine tahini, lemon juice and salt. Whisk together and slowly add water, starting with 2 tablespoons. Continue adding water until you reach your desired consistency.
  6. Serve: Plate with prepared tahini, sumac, mixed herbs and edible flowers.