This is THE dish of Morocco …a sweet/savoury pie with layers of meat, loads of spices, nuts and honey.
You could get creative with this and mix up the layering a little bit. Also, I made six portion-size Pastillas, but could you definitely could make one bigg’un!
- 2 squab pigeons, I used 2 partridges (all I could find — use chicken legs if you can get a hold of any game)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium white onions (sliced)
1 bunches of coriander
1/2 bunch of parsley
10g of grated fresh ginger
Salt and black pepper
1 pinche of saffron
175g of butter
10g of caster sugar
2 pieces of cinnamon stick
5g cinnamon powder
2 teaspoons of ginger powder
2 teaspoons of turmeric
5g of icing sugar
15g of toasted flaked almond
20g of roasted whole almond (chopped)
8 sheets of brick pastry (or filo pastry )
Season the pigeon with salt and pepper, and brown it quickly with some olive oil. Remove it from the pan and add the white onions with the rest of the spice – cinnamon powder and stick, turmeric, ginger, saffron, caster sugar, grated fresh ginger, coriander, parsley, salt and pepper – and cook it for about two minutes. Remove from the pan. Add 230g of butter and put the pigeon back into the pan and cover with the onions, put on the lid and cook gently for 45 minutes. Add 1/2 cup – 1 cup of water as it’s cooking to keep the pigeon (game) from drying out.
While that’s cooking, fry the flaked almonds in oil until just brown. Strain the almonds letting them cool and reserve the oil. When the almonds cool down, chop them all roughly.
Remove the pigeon from the pan, and put to one side to cool down. Beat the eggs with a fork and add them to the onion until it’s scrambled. Set aside. Separate the flesh of the pigeon from its bones, cut into small cubes and add it to the onion and eggs. Add the chopped almonds into the mixture and the fresh chopped coriander and a drizzle of the reserved oil from the almond .
Spread the rest of the butter over the pastry (two leaves, one on top of the other), put the mixture in the middle and add two more buttered leaves. Close them to form a nice round shape, approximately one centimetre thick and cook the pastilla in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes or until golden brownWhen cooked, sprinkle the pastilla with icing sugar and cinnamon powder, garnish with flaked almonds on top.