Moroccan-style Chicken Pie
From Bon Appetit March 2009 Issue
Prep time: 15 minutes for filling; 10-15 minutes for phyllo
Cooking time: 20 minutes for filling (can be made a day ahead);
final baking: 40 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp turmeric
Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
1 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1½ lb/680g boneless, skinless chicken (they used dark, I used breast meat)
¼ cup raisins, chopped (I didn’t bother with the chopping)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp fresh Italian/flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ cup slivered almonds, ground ( I just bought ground almonds and used a ½ cup or so)
3 tbsp powdered sugar (also known as confectioner’s sugar)
½ tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
10 sheets fresh phyllo pastry (if you’re using frozen, thaw first)
½ cup unsalted butter, melted for brushing
1. Heat oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Sauté until tender and translucent (don’t allow to brown) – about 10 minutes. Add cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and saffron and stir for about 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour and cook for another minute or so.
2. Add the broth, stir and bring to a simmer and then add the chicken. Gently simmer uncovered until the chicken is cooked through, turning once or twice in the process, reducing the heat if necessary to prevent boiling. (about 20 minutes). Stir in the raisins and set the skillet aside until the chicken cools enough to handle.
3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred coarsely. Return to skillet. If the sauce is thin, continue to simmer uncovered over medium heat until the sauce coats the chicken thickly. Stir in the cilantro and parsley. Taste for seasoning and cool completely before putting together the phyllo pie. The chicken can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Phyllo Pie Prep: Can be prepared up to 6 hours ahead and refrigerated before baking
1. Finely grind the almond slivers (or buy them already ground), powdered sugar, ½ tsp coarse salt, and cinnamon in a mini processor (or use a mortar and pestle…don’t have that…then the back of a spoon) and set aside.
2. Stack 10 phyllo sheets on a cutting board. Invert a 9” deep dish pie plate over the stack and cut around the dish through the phyllo sheets, making 10 rounds. Remove dish and cover the sheets with plastic wrap and/or a slightly damp tea towel so they won’t get dried out and break during the layering process.
3. Brush the pie plate with a little melted butter. Place one phyllo round on a work surface, quickly brush with melted butter and sprinkle a spoonful of the almond mixture. Top with another phyllo round and continue the process until you have a stack of 5 sheets.
4. Carefully transfer the stack of prepared phyllo to the pie plate, spread the chicken mixture evenly on top and repeat the phyllo prep for the last five rounds. Place over the chicken filling and press around the edges. Cut four slits on top to allow steam to escape.
Note: I used some of the left over phyllo to make stacks of leaves to decorate the top and I sprinkled some of the almond mixture on the crust as well.
5. Preheat oven to 375ºF/190°C. Place the room temperature pie on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy cleanup if it should bubble over.
6. Bake for about 40 minutes uncovered until the phyllo is golden and the filling heated through.
7. Cool for 15 minutes and cut into wedges.
I served it on a bed of baby spinach, sauteed first with shallots and then drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar. It was such a hit, I should have doubled both recipes.