Moroccan-spiced chicken and phyllo pie

6 servings Prep: 35 mins, Cooking: 45 mins
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A humble chicken pie, but with a twist.

By Food24 October 06 2010
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Ingredients (27)

12 chicken breast fillets — skinned
5 phyllo pastry
butter — melted, for brushing
250 ml plain yoghurt
2 lemons — juice only
10 ml lemon — zest only
2 garlic — cloves, peeled and crushed
20 ml cumin — ground
1 tsp chillies — powder
saffron — threads, pinch
2 onions — peeled and finely chopped
30 ml sunflower oil
1 cinnamon — stick
6 tomatoes — ripe
80 ml almonds — ground
10 ml ginger — ground
10 ml coriander — ground
15 ml paprika — mild
2 garlic — cloves, peeled and crushed
375 ml stock — chicken or vegetable
salt and freshly ground black pepper
75 g butter — cold, cubed
24 green olives — pitted
45 ml preserved lemon — finely chopped
125 ml fresh coriander — chopped
125 ml parsley — chopped
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Cut the chicken into strips as big as your little finger (or into large
cubes, if you prefer).
Place all the marinade ingredients into a large
plastic or glass bowl and mix well. Stir in the chicken strips. Cover
and set aside in the fridge for two hours.

Heat the olive oil in a
large, shallow pan and add the chopped onion and cinnamon stick.
over a medium flame, until the onions have softened.
In the meantime,
quarter the tomatoes and put them in a liquidiser or a food processor
fitted with a metal blade.  Process at high speed until you have a pale
pink, mushy liquid.
Pour this into the pan containing the onions and add
the almonds, ginger, coriander, paprika and garlic.
Season with salt
and pepper.
Cook at a fairly brisk bubble for 15 minutes, or until the
sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. 
To check whether it’s ready,
draw a wooden spoon across the base of the pan. If the channel created
by the spoon closes reluctantly, the sauce is thick enough.

the heat to its lowest setting. Tip the chicken and its marinade into
the pan and stir. Cook very gently (the mixture should barely bubble)
for 10 or so minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked
Add the butter and toss gently. Stir in the olives, preserved
lemon, coriander and parsley, and set aside to cool.
Check the seasoning
and add more salt and pepper if necessary. (At this point, the mixture
can go into the fridge overnight, but add the coriander and parsley only
just before you assemble the pie).

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

the phyllo pastry and remove five sheets.
Place a sheet of pastry on a
piece of greaseproof paper or a clean tea towel (cover the remaining
sheets with a damp cloth) and brush all over with melted butter. 
another sheet on top, and brush with butter again. Continue until you’ve
used up all five sheets.

Grease a rectangular pie dish that’s a
little smaller than the phyllo pastry.
Remove the cinnamon stick from
the chicken mixture.
 Pile the filling into the dish and carefully place
the layered phyllo on top.
Tuck the excess pastry down along the edges,
or crimp it neatly.
Brush melted
butter over the top of the pie and dust with a little ground cinnamon.
Bake at 180ºC for 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and
golden. Watch the pie like a hawk: if it looks like it’s browning too
quickly, loosely cover it with tin foil.

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