This recipe is another Moroccan dinner party item that I’m only now getting around to sharing. Yes, I probably did make an excessive amount of food. Yes, it was all amazing and worth it.
I profusely apologized to Dave, the dishwasher.
( Incidentally, you should get excited that another epic ethnic food dinner party is just around the corner. I am trying to exercise menu-planning restraint.)
This recipe is something that I had never heard of until I started investigating Moroccan appetizer recipes. This beautiful recipe for Chicken Pastillas by La Tartine Gourmande inspired my dish.
Chicken Pastillas (also know as Bastillas) are generally a celebratory dish served for special occasions in Morocco. Traditionally they are made with pigeons or squab. It’s basically a meat pie that is part savory, part sweet, with nuts, raisins, and wrapped in phyllo-like dough. It’s garnished with powdered sugar and cinnamon designs. Historically, the pastilla is thought to be originally an Andalusian dish, brought back to Morocco by the Moors during the reconquest in the 15th century (ish). It is now considered a Moroccan Classic.
Don’t let the lengthy recipe intimidate you. It’s worth it. Hope you enjoy!
Mmm baked chicken thighs. Prepping the ingredients- soak the raisins in hot boiling water so that they plump up before adding to the mixture. The “brown stuff” is the paste of almonds, sugar, and cinnamon. It’s basically like the Moroccan streusel topping. Fill the ramekins with phyllo and chicken. Add the almond and sugar mixture ontop of the chicken before adding the phyllo to the top. Look at these ramekins! I love these guys. Thanks Renee and Shelley 🙂 Look at those pretty little pastries 🙂 You can even decorate with sprinkled cinnamon for a traditionally Moroccan presentation.
- 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of saffron
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Dash of nutmeg
- Salt to taste
- 5 eggs
- 4 tablespoons chopped coriander
- 1/4 cup raisins, soaked in warm water
- 1/3 cup of water
- 1/4 cup toasted almonds
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 roll phyllo dough
- Melted butter for brushing
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake chicken thighs for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
- Heat olive oil in skillet over medium- high heat. Saute onions until soft and golden.
- Meanwhile, chop the chicken into small pieces. Add to onions. Add spices, sugar, salt, and raisins. Stir to combine and add water. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Uncover chicken mixture. Bring mixture to a boil. Allow sauce to reduce until water is mostly evaporated and mixture is thick.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Gradually stir in eggs and coriander. Stir egg mixture constantly until mixture thickens and eggs are cooked. Should be the thickness of custard. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Combine almonds, remaining sugar and cinnamon in a spice grinder. Grind until mixture becomes a paste. Set this aside.
- Line 8 ramekins with buttered parchment paper. Unroll phyllo and layer 2-3 sheets onto bottom of ramekin, brushing each individual layer with melted butter. There will be dough that hangs over the edges of the ramekins.
- Fill ramekins with 1/8th of the chicken and egg mixture. Add almond and sugar paste on top. Add one additional phyllo layer, folded into quarters. Fold the rest of the phyllo over the top. Brush the tops of each of the pastries with the remaining butter.
- Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, or until the tops of the pastillas are golden brown. Ovens vary, so watch to avoid burning. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.
- Remove from ramekins and garnish with dusting of powdered sugar before serving.