Hello food lovers!
I may have said it already, but lately I’ve been testing quite a few recipes, and I travel through them!
Let’s go to Maghreb with this chicken and almond!
It’s a dish I had in mind for a while, I have yummy memories of pastillas eaten in Marrakech that still make me smile… So it was high time that I tried one and that I added the chicken and almond pastilla to the blog!
As it often happens with traditional dishes, there are discussions about the origins… Here we have two options: one arguing it’s a Spanish dish (the pastilla would have been brought to Maghreb by the Maures at the end of the 15th century), the other stating that it’s a berbere dish.
Anyway… The pastilla is a kind of pie made with crisp pastry, with onions, originally with pigeons (or chicken, guinea fowl, or, more recently, seafood or vegetables for a vegetarian version), with parsley, coriander, eggs and almonds, a mix of sweet and savory with a touch of cinnamon. It is often served for celebration meals, just before the main dish.
My chicken and almond pastilla will be a starter or a main dish (that’s how I served it, just with a lettuce salad on the side).
Traditionaly, you spread icing sugar and cinnamon on the pastilla before serving. I followed the tradition but I don’t think it’s mandatory, taste wise, even though it looks nice on a photo! 😉
A small frying pan,
A 22 cm pastry ring (or a tart mold),
A baking mat
And a pastry brush.
You can also decide to make individual chicken and almond pastillas. In such case, you will need 6 pastry rings, 9 cm diameter. Final assembly will be a bit different: you will put one crisp pastry at the center of the pastry ring, then proceed with the ingredients. You will fold to close, and wrap the pastilla in another crisp pastry. You will need 12 crisp pastries, whereas my recipe mentions only 8. It’s a nice way to serve the pastilla when you have guests.
You’re all set.
The recipe, Chef!
- 3 chicken thighs (or fillets)
- 4 eggs
- 3 onions
- 3 cm ginger
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 15 coriandre stalks
- 5 parsley stalks
- 8 crisp pastries (brick or filo)
- 80 g melted butter
- 60 g almonds
- 1 teaspoon curcuma
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- A few safran pistils
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 level tablespoon cinnamon
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the chicken, the grated ginger and garlic.
Cook at medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the chopped onions, curcuma, ground ginger, ground coriander, safran, fresh coriander and parsley roughly chopped. Add salt.
Pour 20 cl of water, cover with lid and cook for 45-50 minutes at medium heat.
In the meantime, roast the almonds in a small frying pan and mix them (you can use a mortar if you want).
Once your chicken cooked, set the pieces aside for them to cool down.
Keep half of the onions aside, and keep cooking the rest with honey and cinnamon.
When there's no juice left, add the beaten eggs and cook them like scrambled eggs. Set aside.
Proceed with the assembly of your pastilla once the ingredients are almost at room temperature.
Preheat your oven at 180 degrees.
Unravel your chicken parts. Adjust seasoning of each ingredient.
Place a crisp pastry on one side of your pastry ring (you should cover a bit more than half of the surface). Spread melted butter.
Add 3 more crisp patries, shift each time by a quarter turn. Spread melted butter at each step. You should have covered all the pastry ring, with a large crisp pastry range around the ring.
Add a fifth pastry at the center and spread melted butter.
Place the chicken in the ring. Add a sixth pastry on top and spread melted butter again.
Add the scrambled eggs, then the onions and almonds.
Close the pastilla (fold the pastries), spread melted butter at each step.
Remove gently the pastry ring. Place the last two pastries on the pastilla, spread melted butter. Wrap the pastilla.
Place the pastry ring back to keep a round shape.
Cook in the oven for 25 minutes, until the top of the pastilla is golden.