Moroccan Pastilla Recipe

Moroccan Pastilla Recipe
Staff Writer

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Moroccan food intrigues me with its exotic spices and happy melding of sweet and savory in unexpected places. My favorite dish in Morocco is the pastilla — a crunchy packet of long-simmered spiced poultry (often pigeon) and onions, eggs, and crunchy, sugared almonds.

I was fortunate to have chef Hicham Hassan of the Sofitel Fès Palais Jamaï show me how to make pigeon pastilla during my stay in Fes. Though he was classically trained in French cuisine, chef Hassan tells me he learned to make the best Moroccan food from the ladies in his kitchen, who were kind enough to give me hands-on instruction in this specialty.

6
Servings
341
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Notes

*Note: Create a mixture of equal parts cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ground ginger.

Ingredients

For the almonds

  • 1  tablespoon  butter
  • 2/3  cups  almonds
  • 1  tablespoon  sugar

For the pastilla

  • stick butter
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • One 2- to 2 ½-pound chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1  cup  flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon  quatre épices*
  • Pinch of  saffron
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1 1/2  cup  water
  • onion, chopped
  • 3  tablespoons  sugar
  • eggs, beaten
  • One 16-ounce package phyllo dough squares
  • Oil, for frying
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish
  • Cinnamon, for garnish

Directions

For the almonds

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and sugar. Cook until toasted, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and pulse just until roughly chopped. Set aside.

For the pastilla

Melt the butter in the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chicken, parsley, spices, saffron, salt, pepper, water, onion, and sugar. Cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 1 ½ hours, turning occasionally.

Remove the chicken from the pan, set aside, and reduce the cooking liquid over high heat until it thickens. Once the chicken has cooled, skin the chicken and shred the meat. Add the eggs to the cooking liquid, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until the eggs are cooked, stirring, about 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken to the mixture and stir to combine.

Place 2 phyllo squares on a plate. Add a dollop of the mixture (don't overfill) to the sheet, add a handful of almonds, and top with 2-3 more squares. Fold a corner in, and continue folding, working counterclockwise until you've created a round packet. Repeat to make all 6 pastilla.

Meanwhile, heat about ½-inch oil in a pan over medium heat. Fry each pastilla, flipping after 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Serve warm.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
17g
24%
Sugar
10g
11%
Saturated Fat
8g
33%
Cholesterol
1mg
0%
Carbohydrate, by difference
41g
32%
Protein
13g
28%
Vitamin A, RAE
66µg
9%
Vitamin B-6
1mg
77%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
50mg
67%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
1µg
1%
Calcium, Ca
124mg
12%
Choline, total
3mg
1%
Fiber, total dietary
14g
56%
Folate, total
91µg
23%
Iron, Fe
22mg
100%
Magnesium, Mg
139mg
43%
Manganese, Mn
1mg
56%
Niacin
5mg
36%
Pantothenic acid
1mg
20%
Phosphorus, P
226mg
32%
Riboflavin
1mg
91%
Selenium, Se
14µg
25%
Sodium, Na
222mg
15%
Thiamin
1mg
91%
Water
44g
2%
Zinc, Zn
2mg
25%

Moroccan Shopping Tip

Choose raw fruits, vegetables, and meats, and unprocessed foods.

Moroccan Cooking Tip

Substitute butter for olive oil, and bake, broil, or grill instead of fry.