Best Moroccan Chicken Pastilla. I had first heard of Pastilla, I was taking a Mediterranean class, and one week we focused on the cuisine of Northern Africa, specifically Morocco. Alongside a few different tagines and mint tea, our chef instructor asked us to make a Moroccan Chicken Pastilla.
I was instantly intrigued. How could something as savory as chicken be combined with powdered sugar like a dessert as a dinner recipe?
Believe it. It just works for the recipe.
Traditionally made with pigeon, Moroccan Chicken Pastilla is a savory pie filled with meat, spices and eggs to form almost a custard. Ground toasted almonds are added in as well as a touch of sugar.
The filling is then set inside a pan patterned with phyllo dough. Once out of the oven, a heavy hand of powdered sugar is decorated on top as a finishing touch.
I made this in a round 9-in cake pan, but you can also build this Moroccan Chicken Pastilla dish on a pie plate or even as small individual appetizers by spreading the filling on a piece of phyllo dough and folding it like the brik in the photos that follow.
Best Moroccan Chicken Pastilla
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 slices boneless chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 medium onions diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 pinch salt to taste
- 1 pinch pepper to taste
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 4 medium eggs beaten
- ½ cup almonds chopped
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 10 sheets phyllo dough sheets
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar for decorating
- In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and cook the chicken thighs until crisp and golden. Turn the thighs over and cook until browned. No need to worry if the chicken is not fully cooked. It will cook later on in the dish.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and add the butter. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add in the garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan and add in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low and cover the pan. Simmer until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and shred it with two forks.
- Meanwhile, reduce the liquid by half. Add the chicken back into the pan and whisk in the eggs over low heat and cook until the mixture resembles loose scrambled eggs. Add in the chopped almonds and parsley. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F. Brush the cake pan with melted butter and layer 5 sheets of phyllo, brushing each with butter. Add the filling and top with the remaining phyllo dough, arranging the pieces to cover the piece completely. Fold in pieces and brush with remaining butter. Bake until the pastry is crisp, about 30 minutes.
- Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool before sprinkling with powdered sugar. Serve.