MOROCCAN PASTILLA RECIPE
This week is British Pie Week, so Executive Chef, Andrew MacKenzie has decided to share one of his favourite pie recipes, Moroccan Pastilla.
Along time ago he was lucky enough to live and work in Sydney, Australia. While he was there, he had the chance to work in a fantastic Moroccan restaurant called Fez in Darlinghurst and the chef taught him how to make this traditional pan pie.
They used to use pigeon, but we've change it to chicken for this recipe, to make it easier to get hold of.
1 whole chicken
1 tablespoon sumac (a ground spice)
4 cloves of garlic
A sprig of thyme
½-1 tablespoon brown sugar (more if a sweeter pie is desired)
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
3 medium onions diced
½-1 inch ginger diced
1-2 teaspoon ras el-hanout (ground spice mix)
1-2 teaspoon cumin
3 cloves of garlic crushed
Large handful of pistachios, toasted and crushed into a chunky powder
1 packet of ready made filo pastry
Oil from the chicken to brush in between layers
Spatchcock the chicken. Cut the lemons into quarters and put into a roasting tin with the garlic and thyme, season the chicken with salt, pepper and sumac. Roast at 150 degrees C for about 1 1/2 hours or until its well-cooked and can be pulled from the bone.
Leave to cool and let the fat and juices drain out.
Take it out of the roasting tin and shred it with your fingers or two forks until you have fine long pieces.
In a heavy pan, sweat the onions, garlic and ginger until soft. Add the chicken and spooning out excess oil that has collected from the chicken fat. You can use this to brush in between the layers of filo later. Mix and continue cooking. Add in blended almonds, garlic, ginger, spices, and sugar. Taste and adjust the flavours to your liking.
Next, crack in the eggs to bind the mixture, mix well and fast to avoid clumps. Cook for just a few seconds until the mixture is soft but not runny. This is important as it binds the ingredients, but you do not want it to moisten the filo pastry too much.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Layer the filo pastry in a round pan (5-6 bottom layers), brushing oil lightly between each layer, letting the excess dough hang over the side.
Add in the filling and layer the hanging side pieces on top, lightly brushing a small amount of oil in between. If you are making a big pie you can use extra sheets of filo to construct the top. Make sure to brush oil in between the layers and on top of the pie.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. When the pie is done it is traditionally sprinkled with icing sugar to finish, Andrew prefers not to, but this is upto you.
Andrew suggests serving it with a simple chickpea salad, dressed with sumac and olive oil.