This sweet-savoury pie which combines a savoury filling (often pigeon) with a sweet dusting of icing sugar and cinnamon on top, is often served at special occasions, such as weddings. It can be prepared in advance, and refrigerated for up to 2 days, uncooked.
- 1.8 kg chicken, jointed into 4 pieces
- 225 g (¾ cup) charmoula
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- 5 cm piece ginger, peeled, halved
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 black peppercorns
- 4 preserved lemon quarters (see Note)
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 100 ml orange-blossom water
- 1 cup coriander leaves, chopped
- 100 g butter, chopped
- 16 filo pastry sheets
- sliced strawberries, icing sugar and ground cinnamon, to serve
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- 50 g butter, chopped
- 1 large onion, halved, thinly sliced
- 125 ml (½ cup) orange-blossom water
- 90 g (¼ cup) honey
- 70 g (½ cup) slivered almonds, toasted
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink 2009 Shaw Vineyard Estate Premium Riesling, Canberra
Place chicken in a bowl and rub with charmoula. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight to marinate.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger, saffron, bay leaves, peppercorns and lemon, and cook for 4 minutes or until onion is softened. Add chicken and 1 tsp salt, then cover with 1 litre water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Cool in liquid, then remove chicken meat from the bones, discarding bones and skin, and reserve 500 ml strained cooking liquid. Shred chicken and set aside.
Bring reserved cooking liquid to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 8 minutes or until reduced by half. Add eggs, 80 ml orange-blossom water and the coriander, and cook, whisking continuously, for 4 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
To make glazed onion, soak saffron in 2 tsp hot water for 10 minutes. Using the back of a spoon, press saffron against the bowl to extract as much colour as possible. Set aside. Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 8 minutes or until golden. Add orange-blossom water, honey, saffron and soaking liquid, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until liquid has almost evaporated. Stir in almonds and cinnamon. Set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 190°C.
Melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in remaining 20 ml orange-blossom water.
To assemble pie, grease a 28 cm ovenproof frying pan with butter mixture, then arrange 6 filo sheets, slightly overlapping in the pan to cover the base and side, allowing edges to hang over pan. Brush with butter mixture, then spread glazed onion over filo. Top with 4 filo sheets, slightly overlapping them, and brush with butter mixture. Spoon over egg mixture, then fold in the 4 filo sheets to cover eggs. Lightly brush with more butter, then top with another 4 filo sheets, overlapping them to cover filling. Top with chicken mixture and fold in the 4 filo sheets to partially cover filling. Lightly brush with more butter. Fold remaining 2 filo sheets in half and place on top to cover filling. Brush filo with butter mixture, then fold in remaining overhanging filo sheets.
Brush with butter mixture and bake for 30 minutes or until the base is golden. Turn out onto a plate, then slide back into the pan. Bake for a further 15 minutes or until base is crisp and golden. Top with strawberries and dust with icing sugar and cinnamon to serve.
• Preserved lemons are from delis and specialist food shops.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 12, pg94.
Photography by Alan Benson