Pastilla is a classic Moroccan pie and what a pie it is - packed with aromatically spiced meat, crisp pastry and a touch of sweet. And with my tweaks, it's a great use of leftovers, too.
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This recipe may not be posted at quite the right time for Thanksgiving leftovers, but that's because I didn't make it until we were using our own. However with Christmas coming up, I figured there was another chance it could come in handy. And you can save it for another year!
I have lots of go-to recipes for leftover turkey, like Australian pie (leftover turkey pie with raisins and bechamel), Vietnamese chicken salad and others, but for whatever reason, I felt like something different. I'm not sure quite what led me to pastilla, but I'm so glad the idea came to me because this is truly delicious.
What is pastilla?
Pastilla is a Moroccan pie, traditionally made with pigeon but commonly made with chicken instead. It has a gentle, warm spice from cinnamon, ginger and garlic, and is slightly sweet.
The flavorful filling is wrapped up in deliciously crisp pastry. Traditionally this is warka, but you can use filo pastry as a close alternative. Being a pie, you can cut it as big or as small a slice as you like, so it's great for lunch or a main meal.
My variation on tradition: using leftovers
In a more traditional recipe (such as this one, which I have drawn on, among others), you cook the meat with the onions in a kind of spiced broth. After a while cooking, you shred the meat, reduce the sauce, add the eggs and layer up the pie.
However I thought you could also make it with leftovers, and it definitely works. It also speeds up the process as you simply warm the cooked shredded meat with the onions, spices and a little broth. Add the eggs, then start putting together your pie.
This pastilla may be speeded up slightly from the classic, but it's still full of flavor. The soft, gently spiced filling wrapped in light, crisp pastry and rounded off with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar. Leftovers never tasted so good.
Try these other tasty uses for leftover chicken or turkey:
- Aji de gallina (Peruvian chicken stew)
- Thai red curry
- Chicken flautas (crisp filled tortillas, also works with turkey)
- Thai-style leftover chicken Buddha bowl
- Plus get more Holiday leftovers ideas, as well as many more North African recipes in the archives.
For the meat filling
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion large
- 2 cloves garlic crushed/finely grated
- ½ tablespoon ginger finely grated
- 1 lb cooked chicken or turkey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ cup light stock
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- ¼ cup parsley approx, chopped
For the almond layer
- 3 oz ground almonds almond flour (3oz is a little under 1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 sheets filo pastry or warka, ideally - or more if smaller sheets
- 3 ½ tablespoon butter approx, melted
- Warm the oil in a medium-large skillet over a medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring now and then, for a few minutes until the onion becomes translucent and is soft. Then add the ginger and garlic.
- Cook for another minute then add the chicken, cinnamon, turmeric and stock. Simmer, reducing the heat as necessary, until the liquid has almost gone then add the honey and eggs. Mix them through well and cook a minute then remove from the heat. Add the parsley, mix through and set aside.
- Mix together the almond flour, sugar and cinnamon for the almond layer and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- Lay a sheet of the pastry in the bottom of an approx 8in/20cm pie or tart dish. Brush all over with melted butter. Lay another piece of pastry on top at a 90 degree angle and brush again with butter. Repeat with the other two sheets of pastry and butter putting the pastry at different angles to be roughly even all sides.
- Put the meat filling in the middle of the pastry base and flatten out, spreading out to the sides. Top with the almond mix, spreading it evenly over the top. Fold over the pastry to cover the top and brush with a little more butter to hold the pastry in place. Bake for around 30 minutes until the top is golden.
- Sprinkle the top with a little confectioners sugar and cinnamon then serve. Best served warm but also works cold.
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I would it be possible to assemble this pie and then freeze it before baking?
I haven't tried it with this pie but I think it should work fine.
Have not made yet, but can pulled pork or brisket be subbed for the poultry?
I haven't tried either, but of the two, I would say pork would go better flavor-wise. Brisket I'd say has too strong a flavor and would overpower the almonds etc, and also has a much higher fat content. With pulled pork, you'd want to make sure you remove some of the excess fat before using in here, too.
I dont see the baking temperature.
Apologies for that, it seems to have been deleted somehow when updating - back in there now (350F/180C).
I haven’t made this yet. I am allergic to eggs. Is there anything else that can be used to replace the eggs, but do their job just as well (act as a binder, I guess.) I wonder if they are even necessary??
I'm not sure that there is an obvious replacement - they do bind a bit, though it's more generally helping the texture and moisture level than making it firm. I'd suggest since many other things may impact flavor, you are probably best to just skip them but possibly add a little more liquid, and a tiny bit flour or cornstarch to the meat filling to keep it moist but not too liquid.
I know what I'm going to do with my leftover turkey!! I love that easy phyllo crust!
It's a great solution! Agree, phyllo gives a great texture without too much effort.
I can't say I have ever had the pleasure of having this delicious looking savory pie. I can tell you that's about to change after seeing your recipe!
Thanks. It's less well known but it is so tasty and works so well to use up leftovers as well.
This sounds super nourishing and that flaky crust looks golden, buttery and amazing!
It's a delicious mix and the filo/phyllo crust really rounds it off nicely.
What a great idea! This recipe sounds unique and delicious. And, we're all about using up leftovers. Waste not, want not, my Mama always said.
Thanks, yes I don't like to waste as well, but I also like variety and so this is a perfect solution.
This is gorgeous! What an extra fun way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers!
Thanks, it's a delicious mix (and so good for leftovers!)
This sounds and looks so delicious, I could almost eat that entire pie right now! seriously, this is such a great recipe 🙂
Thanks, it's a really tasty pie, and a great way to use up leftovers as well.