A few days ago I felt like making something involving pastry. Maybe it was the horrible weather that made me think about comfort food – something warm and delicious. I’d bought home one of our rotisserie chickens and decided to use it for this chicken pie which has flavour influences from a French Moroccan bastilla. Traditionally a bastilla is made from filo pastry and contains a mix of pigeon and various spices. This pie is far less time consuming that making a proper bastilla but it’s still really good and is great for lunch or dinner with a simple salad.
- Ingredients (for 4)
- 1 cooked chicken, roughly torn into pieces, skin and bones removed
- 2 medium onions, peeled, quartered and very finely sliced
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 tin of whole tomatoes, drained and tomatoes roughly chopped
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika (not smoked)
- 2 good pinches of cayenne pepper – adjust if you like more or less spiciness
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup of pinenuts, toasted
- ¼ cup of slivered almonds, toasted
- ⅓ cup of raisins
- 1 small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
- Knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- Salt & pepper
- 2 sheets of puff pastry
- Egg wash – a beaten egg with a little added milk
Heat a little olive oil in a heavy frying pan to a medium heat and add the onions. After 2-3 minutes reduce the heat, cover and cook till very soft but not brown. This will take at least 15 minutes. If it seems a little dry add more oil or a little stock. Stir in the garlic and fresh ginger.
Next add the cumin, nutmeg, ground ginger, paprika, cayenne and chicken. Increase the heat a little and stir for a minute or two. Add the stock, tomatoes and raisins. Cover and leave to gently simmer for about 10 minutes. This filling needs to be moist but not too wet. If there seems to be too much juice, increase the heat and reduce the liquid. If it’s dry add more stock. Season to taste and mix in the coriander.
Lightly flour a working surface. Roll one of the sheets of pastry into a rectangle and place it on oiled baking paper on an oven tray. Roll the other sheet into a rectangle that is a bit smaller than the first.
Put all the filling on top of the first sheet, evenly spreading it out and leaving a 2-3cms gap around all edges. Brush a little egg wash around all the edges. Sprinkle the nuts over the top of the chicken mix. Cover the filling with the second sheet of pastry pressing it together. Fold the edges of the bottom piece up over the top piece and crimp them. Brush the top and edges all over with the egg wash and with a sharp knife make slits in the top for the steam to escape. Bake in a medium oven for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is golden,
Leave the pie to cool a little and cut into four large pieces and serve. It’s good both warm and at room temperature.