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Chicken Pastilla or Bastilla is a Moroccan pie traditionally prepared with chicken and nuts. Historically, The original variety is the pastilla made with pigeons, which is related to Tangier; the famous food city. For cost reasons (I think), Moroccans replaced pigeons with chicken and gave the dish another dimension in taste and pleasure! Today, chicken pastilla is a scrumptious Moroccan delicacy that combines savory and sweet. Moroccans serve this popular festive dish at family celebrations, holidays, special dinners, and different happy occasions.
In this article, I suggest to you an exceptional chicken pastilla recipe that I like very much; the chicken pastilla with honey and almonds. I’m going to show you how to prepare it easily at home. In fact, the pastilla is a simple dish, it needs just some patience as it is prepared in stages. If you follow the preparation method with a bit of organization, you will be able to make your own Moroccan chicken pie like a pro and according to the rules.
The brick pastry or “Werka” in Moroccan dialect, is a basic ingredient in this recipe and serves as a container. It is made of durum wheat flour, vegetable oil, salt, and water, with a very fine, crispy texture when cooked. For those who can not find Pastilla leaves in the region where they live, they can substitute them for phyllo dough sheets.
How To Make Moroccan Chicken pastilla With Honey And Almonds:
- 1 large chicken (about 4lb.), cut into pieces
- 4 cups of Almonds, boiled, peeled, and fried
- 3 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 minced cloves of garlic
- 1 small bowl of chopped fresh coriander
- 5 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 1 tsp crushed saffron
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Ras El Hanout (Moroccan spice blend)
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 3 tablespoons of salted butter
- ¼ cup of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon of orange blossom sugar
- 8 ounces Pastilla Leaves “Werqa”, or phyllo dough sheets (if you can not find pastilla sheets)
Preparing Pastilla’s Filling:
- Cut the chicken into pieces (a professional chef’s knife on Amazon deals and promotions).
- place the pieces in a large pot with a little butter, add the chopped onions, chopped parsley, minced garlic, spices, salt, and half amount of the sugar, cover, and let simmer for about 1 hour. Some people add water, but what I recommend is to avoid adding water as much as possible since the chicken is going to simmer well in the juice of the onion.
- Once cooked, remove the chicken and continue cooking the sauce; the liquids should evaporate to make it thick. Note that you should stir continuously and continue cooking always on low heat to avoid that your sauce attaches.
- Meanwhile, bone your chicken pieces, remove the veins, and remove the skin.
- Add the eggs to thicken the sauce; either one by one or beating them in advance like in omelets. Stir actively using a fork.
- Sweeten the sauce with a little honey. Personally, I put a tablespoon of honey just to bring out the sweetness of the onion.
- Now, brown the almonds either in a pan with a little bit of fat (traditional method) or in the oven. Grind them with sugar, cinnamon, and orange blossom sugar using a food processor, add the mixture to your sauce, and let it cool.
Filling The Pastilla:
- Preheat your oven to 360°F/180°C and prepare a large ovenproof dish to assemble your pastilla.
- Brush four pastilla leaves or phyllo sheets with melted butter and prepare them for the filling. Place the first one carefully on the dish (make sure it is pushed into the corners without being ripped). Place the second at right angles to the first leave. place the last two sheets diagonally. You should consolidate the bottom of your pastilla pie and make sure the buttered side of the leaves is point upwards.
- Place the chicken pieces over the pastry. Add the creamy sauce and cover it with a buttered sheet.
- Fold the overflowing leaves inward and use two other sheets coated with egg yolk to close the pastilla.
- Brush generously the surface with the rest of the melted butter. This facilitates both the cooking and at the same time makes it easier to serve; you will need just to slide it in a serving dish without breaking.
Baking The Pastilla:
- Bake the pastilla for about half an hour, until the pastry is browned. I recommend you stay next to it just to watch and control the cooking because you will notice that it is golden on some sides and not on others.
- Once the pastilla is golden and crispy, slip it into a small serving bowl, sprinkle it with some icing sugar and cinnamon.
- Serve it hot.
I hope that the people who are going to make this amazing chicken pastilla for the first time, could prepare it without difficulties and enjoy it as much as I do!
Impress your guests and let them discover the unique flavors of this authentic chicken dish!
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If you are a fan of chicken dishes, you may need to discover the incomparable Moroccan chicken tagine.