Thursday, June 23, 2011

Moroccan Chicken Pie (Bastilla Dajaj)

Don't let the simple title fool you. Moroccan bastilla's are a time consuming affair. They are not difficult to put together but their preparation can take upwards of up to 2 hours to prepare and put together because of their numerous steps. This recipe took a total of 2 hours from start to finish, so if you have the time and are up to the task it is well worth the time and effort because the results are worth it.

Yield:6 Servings

1/2 large onion, peeled, finely chopped
1 handful cilantro, leaved removed from stems, finely chopped
1 handful parsley, leaves removed from stem, finely chopped
4 oz. almonds, slivered
1/3 c butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ras al hanout
2 Tbsp. orange blossom water
7 Tbsp. water
2 eggs, beaten
8 sheets filo pastry

1. Toast the almonds in a dry pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes till they become slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. Melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter and the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season the chicken breast on both sides with salt and add to the pan. Cook until both sides are browned well. Take the chicken out of the pan and set aside.Lower the heat a little.

3. Add the onion to the skillet and brown them.Add the cinnamon and ras al hanout and stir together till evenly combined. Add the orange water, water and bring to a boil.

4. Return the chicken breasts to the skillet and cook for an additional 10 minutes over low heat.

5. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. Turn off the heat and remove the onion/spice mixture to a separate bowl.Cut the chicken into small pieces.

6. Add the beaten eggs to the onion/spice mixture then add cilantro and parsley and mix well.

7. In a 9 in. pie dish, stack 4 filo pastry sheets overlapping each other and brush with melted butter. Pour the onion/spice mixture into the pie dish and cover with the filo pastry.

8. Repeat with the remainder sheets. Add the almond pieces and evenly distribute the chicken pieces on top. Fold the pastry sheets on top covering the chicken completely and tucking the edges that are loose. Brush top of bastilla with olive oil.

9. Bake for 10-15 minutes until top is lightly browned. Remove from heat, wait for it to cool and serve warm.
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