Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr
Moroccan style chicken pie. The procedure is quite simple and well worth the effort. Ideal for entertaining, the unbaked pie can be made and refrigerated for up to two days. I found the recipe over ten years ago and have had many compliments when serving it. Read complete recipe before preparing.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1⁄2 lbs whole chicken breasts
- 1 1⁄2 cups onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh gingerroot, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1⁄4 teaspoon saffron, ground
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 7 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 lb phyllo dough, thawed (about 24 leaves)
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
Topping for Phyllo leaves
- 1⁄2 cup confectioners' sugar (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
Topping for filling
- 1 1⁄2 cups almonds, sliver, blanch
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- In large skillet or 5-quart dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts and cook until golden brown on all sides-about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
- In same large skillet, add onions, garlic, ginger, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil; saute, stirring constantly, just until onions are translucent. Stir in cinnamon, cumin, ground coriander, red pepper, turmeric, and saffron. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until onions are completely coated with spices-about 3 minutes.
- Increase heat to high. Add broth, fresh coriander, and parsley to skillet with onion mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring to combine. Return chicken to skillet, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until chicken is tender, approximately 30 minutes.
- Remove chicken from skillet to plate and set aside to cool. Continue to cook onion mixture, covered, until almost dry, about 15 minutes. Add eggs, salt, and pepper to onion mixture.Cook until soft curds form, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set onion-egg mixture aside to cool.
- Topping:. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread almonds on ungreased baking sheet and place in oven for 7 minutes or until lightly toasted. In food processor with chopping blade (or by hand), process almonds with sugar and cinnamon until coarsely ground.
- When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin and bones. Tear chicken into 2-inch-long strips.
- To assemble bastilla, place phyllo between 2 sheets of waxed paper, then cover with damp towel. (Phyllo dries out very quickly. Each time you remove a sheet, be sure to cover remaining sheets with damp towel.) Brush 12-inch pizza pan with some melted butter. Remove 1 sheet of Phyllo and place on pan, letting the edges hang over the rim. Brush phyllo sheet with butter. Working quickly, stack and butter 11 more sheets, arranging them in the pan in an overlapping, circular fashion (like a pinwheel).
- On center of phyllo, in even layers, arrange half the Topping, half of onion-egg mixture, all of chicken strips, the remaining onion-egg mixture, and the remaining Topping, Fold overhanging phyllo over top of bastilla and brush top with butter.
- Continue to butter and arrange 12 phyllo sheets in the same pinwheel fashion over top of bastilla (as before). Carefully tuck the overhanging ends underneath it. Brush top and side of bastills with butter. Cover loosely with foil.(At this point, can be refrigerated two hours or up to 2 days before baking).
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake bastilla 20 minutes or until golden. (If bastilla has been chilled, bake 5 to 10 minutes longer.) Place a baking sheet or another 12-inch pizza pan over the bastilla and invert so that the underside is now on top. Return to oven on the new pan (or slide back onto original pan) and bake 25 minutes longer or until crisp and golden.
- If desired, sprinkle confectioners' sugar and ground cinnamon on top of bastilla.
- Note: Ground saffron is available in specialty shops. If you can't find it, crumble the commonly found saffron threads before measuring.
This recipe is simply superb. It is so very good. The filling was spectacular, as was the filo pastry crust, and it was very much like those that I tasted in Morocco. I think that it was also simpler to prepare than it seemed at first. My once criticism of the recipe is that there are two different mixtures labeled "topping" and it was not clear at first which of the two you were supposed to add when. (FYI, I skipped the 'optional' topping and it was fine.) I also substituted cashew nuts for some of the almonds simply because of what I had on hand - results were divine.