You may have heard of it but what is it? As our article ‘What is Pastilla?’ explains, a Pastilla is a sweet and savoury Moroccan pie, most commonly filled with pigeon meat, dusted with icing sugar.
If you can’t get hold off pigeon you can substitute with chicken. There are also dessert versions. Here’s a simple Pastilla recipe for the most popular version of this traditional Moroccan dish, for the perfect pastilla. Ingredients
• 2 tbsp vegetable oil
• 6 onions, chopped • 5cm/2in piece fresh root ginger, grated
• 1 tsp ground cloves
• 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 175ml/6fl oz chicken stock
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3 oven-ready pigeons
• 8 free-range eggs, beaten
• 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
• handful chopped fresh parsley
• handful chopped fresh coriander
• few saffron strands
• 1 tsp sugar
• 250g/9oz flaked almonds, toasted, roughly crushed
• 3 sheets filo pastry
• icing sugar, to serve
Preparation – 10 steps to perfect pastilla!
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions for 6-8 minutes, or until softened.
2. Stir in the ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and stock and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the pigeons to the pan.
3. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for one hour, skimming off any impurities and adding more water if the mixture becomes dry.
4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
5. Remove the pigeons from the pan and set aside to cool. Then remove the meat from the pigeons and shred roughly. Set aside. 6. Meanwhile, continue to cook the onion mixture until thickened.
7. Add the beaten eggs, butter, herbs, saffron, sugar and almonds to the pan and cook over a gentle heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly, or until the mixture resembles scrambled eggs. Remove from the heat.
8. Meanwhile, butter a large ovenproof dish and line with the filo pastry letting the extra pastry hang over the edge.
9. Spoon the scrambled egg mixture into the dish and top with the reserved pigeon meat. Fold the overhanging pastry on top and brush with more melted butter.
10. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden-brown on top.
11. To serve, turn the Pastilla out onto a plate and dust with icing sugar.