Moroccan Chicken Pie

  1. Patchesnposies

    unsalted butter
    salt and pepper (to taste)
    1-3 chicken breasts
    1/2 cup chicken livers
    1 3-lb. chicken (cut up)
    1/2 cup chicken gizzards
    1/2 cup chicken hearts
    1 onion (minced)
    2 cloves garlic (pressed)
    2 tbsp parsley
    2 tbsp mint
    1 tsp. ginger root (grated)
    1 tsp. ground cumin
    1/2 tsp. red pepper
    1 tsp. turmeric
    1 tsp. crumbled saffron threads
    3 tbsp cinnamon (Yes, 3 tbsp's!)
    3 cups chicken broth
    10 eggs (well beaten and strained)
    2 tbsp sugar
    3/4 cup almonds (chopped)
    10 sheets phyllo dough
    1/4 cup powdered sugar
    1/2 cup golden raisins (soaked in warm rum)

    Cooking Instructions

    In a large skillet brown the chicken in 6 tbsp of butter, salt and pepper to taste. Remove the chicken and set it aside. Add the livers, gizzards, hearts, garlic and onions and cook, stirring until the onions are done. Add the spices, (parsley, mint, ginger root, cumin, red pepper, turmeric, saffron and 1/2 of a tsp of cinnamon). Cook for several minutes, stirring so they don't stick. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Place the chicken pieces that you have browned back into the pot and simmer for an hour or the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken again, and let cool. When it has cooled enough to handle, remove the skin and bones, and chop the meat into bite sized pieces. Skim fat off of the broth if necessary. Set aside 2 cups of the broth. Reduce the remaining broth to about 1/2 a cup and set aside, scraping all of the little tasty bits into it. Now take the 2 cups of broth you had set aside and pour it back into the pan, bring it to a simmer. Take the eggs that you have beaten well and strained through a mesh sieve and slowly pour them into the simmering broth. Whisk them gently until soft creamy curds are formed. Drain off any excess liquid that is left after the curds have been made. Set aside. Brown the chopped almonds in 1/4 cup of butter, toss in a mixture of granulated sugar and 2 tbs cinnamon, then set aside. Clarify 1 cup of butter. Overlap 6 of the phyllo sheets in a 12 inch skillet after brushing each sheet with the butter, letting half of each sheet hang over the edge of the skillet. Fold two more buttered sheets in half and place in the middle of the pan. Layer the almonds, half of the egg mixture, chicken pieces, drained raisins, and then the last of the eggs. Fold the sheets of phyllo that were hanging over the edge of the pan back over the filling. brush on more butter if the sheets are drying out. Tuck the ends in around the edges. Place two more buttered and folded phyllo sheets over the top of the bastilla making a smooth surface and tucking in any ragged places. Brush generously with melted butter. Score the top in a diamond pattern. Bake at 425° for 25-30 minutes or until the top is a deep golden brown. You can slip gently onto a serving platter or serve it in the pan, but you must first sprinkle it all over with the powdered sugar mixed with the remaining cinnamon. Serve while warm.

    Note: Also known as Bastilla. This is not really as complicated as it sounds, once all the ingredients are prepared and organized it goes very quickly. Probably the most decadent and sensual main dish that was ever eaten....especially if you eat it Moroccan style with your fingers, and share it with someone you love! Original recipe courtesy of LA Times California Cookbook.

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