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slice of pastiyeh, Moroccan filo meat pie

slice of pastiyeh, Moroccan filo meat pie

This is a wonderful casserole, an aromatic meat pie that has been such a favorite in my repertoire for guests that I’ve had invitees request it upon invitation. I was even asked to cater a lady’s luncheon of 60 women with this dish. I’ve had many requests for the recipe to which I have always replied, “you don’t want it”. I originally found it in a book and the recipe was four pages long. I’ve streamlined and changed it to make it a little less tedious.

Is it worth the time and effort?, absolutely! My streamlined version I think is every bit as good as the old tedious one.

1 carton of raw filo dough
1/2 cup (or more as needed) butter
1/4 cup water with 1/4 tsp. of turmeric (saffron is better if you have it)
1 cup slivered of thinly sliced almonds
2 full chicken breast (both sides) flattened
2-3 large Vidalia style onions
3 tblsp. cooking oil
1 bunch parsley chopped finely
5 eggs
1/2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. white pepper (less will make it less ‘hot’)
1 tsp. black pepper (how much do you like pepper, I like it peppery)
1 tsp. sea salt

You will need a 13×9 baking pan, a pastry brush, a deep covered frying pan or dutch oven a kithen towel suitable for dampening.
Thaw out filo dough and take dampened (not soaking) towel and place over dough to keep it from drying out. Melt 1/2 cup butter, you may need more. Spray bottom of baking pan with non-stick vegetable spray. Put filo aside under towel.
-Cut onions into strips not rings. Use a good cooking oil like sunflower, not olive (as much as I am a fan of it for everything) as the burn rate is too high. Saute onions in oil on high briefly, then add the peppers and salt. lower to simmer temperature and cover for 10-15 minutes, should cook slowly enough to not burn but moisture from the onions will create a base.

-When onions are soft and in their peppery sauce add 1/4 water with turmeric. Place flattened chicken breats on top of the onions and simmer until breasts are cooked through.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

-Take out 8 sheets of filo dough and fit to size pan. Filo can be folded. Of the eight sheets, place two in the bottom of pan at a time and baste with butter with pastry brush.
Remove cooked chicken from onions and cut in cubes, leaving onion and sauce to side in same pan. Place diced chicken on top of the filo.

Mix in a bowl the sliced almonds with the sugar and cinnamon. Take eight more sheets of filo and repeat process on top of meat layer. Once the top sheet is brushed with butter pour almond and sugar cinnamon mixture over top sheet. Repeat with another 8 sheets of filo in the same manner over the almonds.

Put saucy onion mixture back on burner and add parsley until cooked in. Whip the five eggs in a bowls and pour over onion parsley mixture, cook until egg mixture begins to thicken; DON’T let them turn into scrambled eggs, should be a bit soupy.

Pour soupy onion egg mixture over last filo layer. You should now have three layers. Take eight more sheets of filo for crust and again every two sheets baste with butter making sure the top two sheets are nicely buttered which will give a brown crisp crust.

Cook casserole slowly, 45 min. – hour until cooked through. Filo crust should be crisp and browned. You can make this recipe kosher with the use of margarine instead of butter…butter is better.