If you are anything like me you have a ton of cookbooks, but only a few all time favorites. Books that you go back to again and again. One of my favorites is Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet: AWorld of Recipes for Every Day by Padma Lakshmi. The recipes are great, plus the design and writing are pitch perfect.
I cook out of this at least once a week and I've made most of the recipes. I thought I would share this one with you this week. It's one of my favorites and it could be made a million different ways. I have even made it veggie by substituting the chicken with cauliflower. I'm going to give you my little tweaks. It's a crowd pleaser and it will feed a couple for a few meals.
MOROCCAN BISTEEYA (CURRIED CHICKEN PIE)
16 sheets of filo dough (17 inches x 12 inches)
3 T of grapeseed oil
1 cup minced shallots
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 T of ginger root, minced
2 lbs. ground organic chicken (I have the butcher grind half breast and half thigh)
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T anar dana (dried pomegranate seeds; Trader Joe's has them in the dried fruit section. If you can't find them sub with dried cranberries)
2 cups grape tomatoes sliced in half or quarters
2.5 t dried mango powder (amchoor; indian markets have it or order it from here)
1 t salt
4 T butter, melted and cooled
2 T butter
2 cups of sliced almonds
0.5 t fresh grated nutmeg
0.5 t ground cinnamon
1 Remove the filo dough from the fridge and let it sit at room temp for 30 minutes.
2 Heat the grapeseed oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss in the shallots, stir for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and ginger. Sauté the ingredients fro a few minutes before adding the chicken, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the Worcestershire sauce, stir, and add the pomegranate seeds. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat for 15 minutes; if the chicken releases a lot of liquid, continue to heat until the juices evaporate. When the meat has browned and just starts to dry out, add the cherry tomatoes, mango powder, curry powder and salt. Reduce the heat slightly and cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring often. If the chicken starts to stick to the skillet, add a tablespoon or two of water to help the cooking process. When done, remove from the heat and set aside. Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
3 Prepare the filo dough by laying out a dishcloth on a flat surface large enough to accommodate the flat filo sheets. Lay the dough in a stack on the cloth and cover it with another hand towel. With hot water, dampen and wring out a third hand cloth and lay it flat over the top towel.
4 Carefully center 1 sheet of the filo over a 12 inch tart pan (or pie pan if you don't have a tart pan), allowing the ends to drape over the sides and push filo gently down into the pan to crate a reservoir. Brush it with the butter. Take the next sheet and rotate it 45˚ and place it over the last sheet, brush with butter. Repeat with 6 more sheets.
5 Spoon in the chicken filling and fill the pie, smoothing out the filling with the back of the spoon. Center 1 sheet of the filo over the filling, allowing the ends to drape over the sides, and brush it with butter. Take the next sheet and rotate it 45˚ and place it over the last sheet, brush with butter. Repeat with 6 more sheets. Fold the draping corners of the dough to the center, closing the pie. Brush with butter.
6 Bake the pie for 15 min. Remove from the oven and place a flat baking sheet over the pie pan. Carefully flip the pie onto the baking sheet. Brush the to of the pie with butter and back for 10-15 more minutes, until golden brown.
7 For the garnish, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the almonds and cook for 3 minutes. Add the nutmeg and cinnamon, and stir for another 3 min. Remove the pie from the oven and pour the almonds over the top of the pie. Sprinkle the confectioners' sugar through a fine sieve by taping its sides over the whole pie. Let the pie cool or 10-15 min. Serve warm. Serves 6.