Chef Abid Assab
Amanouz, www.amanouz.com, Northampton, MA
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 cubed onions
- 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
- 1 whole medium chicken, quartered or cut into pieces and skin removed
- Pinch saffron or 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 3 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon plus 1 stick cinnamon
- 5 eggs
- 1 package phyllo dough
- 1/2 stick melted butter
2 cups of ground almonds sautéed in oil, then mixed and ground with 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon and 2 Tbsp sugar.
1 egg yolk
Extra cinnamon and some powdered sugar for garnish
In a large skillet, sauté onions and cilantro in vegetable oil. Add garlic, then chicken to the pot. Add spices (saffron or turmeric, paprika, ginger, cumin, chili powder, pepper, salt, cinnamon and cinnamon stick). Cook until done, about 45 minutes, then remove chicken from skillet. Next, whisk the eggs and add them to the skillet, stirring well. When eggs are well cooked, remove the pan from heat.
To prepare phyllo dough, lay one half of a package in a 12- inch pan, sheet by sheet – brushing each sheet with melted butter.
Using a slotted spoon, layer the mixture cooked in the skillet on top of the phyllo dough. (be careful not to add too much liquid). Shred cooked chicken and layer on top of the mixture. Next, add the ground almond/cinnamon/sugar mix. Lay the remaining phyllo sheets on top, brushing each sheet with melted butter. Brush the top layer with egg yolk.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Cool slightly, then unmold onto a serving plate. Dust the Bastilla with some cinnamon and powdered sugar. To serve, slice into triangles. Serve hot. Serves 8-12
Recommended wine/beer for Chicken Bastilla:
Georges Duboeuf 2005 Chiroubles [Beaujolais, Burgundy]
For decades, perhaps even centuries, North African red wine was often employed to enhance the body and alcohol of French wines from lesser vintages. Mind you, this practice, however common, was both illegal and unethical. If, as is often said, turnaround is fair play, then it would seem wholly appropriate to recommend French wines to enhance the pleasures of a North African table.
Chef Abid’s filo pie with chicken and almonds would pose few challenges were it not for the inclusion of powdered sugar and cinnamon—ingredients American diners are more likely to encounter at meal’s end in a dessert, rather than earlier in a savory dish. A fruity and well endowed cru Beaujolais from the fabulously successful 2005 vintage should readily prove itself capable of the task. Duboeuf’s beautifully balanced Chiroubles has the palette of flavors to accommodate the blend of savory and sweet elements in the dish. It also has the considerable advantage of showing its best at a cool temperature. So, you may refrigerate it for 10-15 minutes. That will go a long way to increase the perception of fruit and acidity and decrease the impact of alcohol and tannin.