Saturday, February 20, 2010

Moroccan Chicken and Date Pastilla

Every month my Mom's Club hosts a potluck cooking club with various themes. I knew as soon as I heard that this month's theme was International Foods that I wanted to make something Moroccan. Have I ever had Moroccan food? No. In fact I had no idea if Moroccan food was even good, the name just popped into my head and I couldn't think of anything else. I googled Moroccan food (how would we survive without Google?!?) and found this dish that sounded oh so yummy and relatively kid friendly. I don't know why, but I have a thing for dishes that mix the savory and the sweet, and boy does this fit the bill. I realllly enjoyed this, and the other mommies seemed to also. Michaela didn't eat any because there was chocolate mousse and whipped cream in the room, which completely clouded her desire to eat anything else. I have a feeling that she would enjoy this, so I'll have to try feeding her the leftovers for lunch.

1 onion, diced finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon + 1 pinch turmeric
2 lbs chicken breast
2 cups chicken stock
3 eggs
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped coarsley
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1/4 cup parsley, minced
3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Salt and pepper to taste
6 sheets phyllo dough
olive oil
powdered sugar and cinnamon

Saute onions in a bit of olive oil for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and spices and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add chicken and chicken stock. Cook for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and shred. Return to the pan along with the eggs, dates, raisins, cilantro, parsley, salt and pepper. Incorporate all the ingredients together.

Prepare your phyllo dough on a flat work surface. Lay out one sheet and brush with olive oil until the whole sheet is moistened. Lay another sheet tilted 45 degrees on top of the first and brush with olive oil. Repeat with 4 more sheets (6 total) tilting each 45 degrees from the previous one. Lay the phyllo dough in a 9 inch springform pan and fill with the chicken mixture. Fold the overhanging dough over the top to seal the pie. Brush olive oil on the top. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-45 minutes or until brown. When cooled, top with powdered sugar and cinnamon and serve.

*To toast the almonds, spread them in a single layer on a baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden. You can use untoasted almonds, but toasting them releases their flavor.
*If you don't have a springform pan, a regular pie pan would be fine, you would just have to scoop out the servings.
*If you are using a larger pan (I used a 10 inch), your phyllo dough won't close over the top. Simply prepare another 6 pieces of dough as above and cover the top, tucking in the extra around the sides of the bottom crust.
*The original recipe calls for saffron, but this is not an ingredient readily available in my area. If you are using saffron, use a pinch in place of the extra pinch of tumeric.
*Tumeric stains! I didn't wipe up the juice from the chicken that fell on my counter until several hours later, and by then it had already left quite a stain. I managed to remove most of it with the magic eraser, but please be careful with this.


  1. Thanks for the recipe! It was so good!

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