This play on classic pot pie is inspired by the flavors of Moroccan pastilla or bastilla, a traditional North African sweet and savory meat pie. The sweetness of the dates and sugared almond topping is balanced by hot harissa paste and ras el hanout, bright lemon zest and lemon juice and a smattering of fresh herbs.
You can find harissa paste and ras el hanout at many specialty food shops or Middle-Eastern markets. You can also find them online. I use the harissa from Villa Jerada and am fond of the ras el hanout both from Whole Spice and Oaktown Spice Shop (the latter you can purchase through the Food52 - shop https://food52.com/shop...). —Asha Loupy
extra virgin olive oil
medium white onion, diced
medium carrots, peeled & diced
large garlic cloves, finely chopped
fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons
ras el hanout spice blend
1 1/2 tablespoons
chicken stock, plus a little extra if necessary
shredded rotisserie or cooked chicken
baby spinach or baby kale leaves
medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
Zest of one lemon (about 1 - 2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 tablespoons
fresh lemon juice
resh cilantro, roughly chopped
flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
14-ounce package puff pastry, defrosted and chilled (this is the equivalent to half a large sheet of puff pastry cut in half horizontally)
In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and begin to turn brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the carrots, garlic and ginger and continue to cook for another couple minutes.
Add the tomato paste, harissa, ras el hanout and cinnamon to the onion, carrot and aromatics mixture, continuing to cook over medium heat, until the tomato paste started to caramelized and the spices begin to toast, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
Pour in the chicken stock into the skillet, stirring to prevent any clumps, and cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the sauce starts to look a little too thick, add another splash of chicken stock.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the chicken, baby spinach or kale, chopped dates, cilantro, parsley, mint, lemon zest and lemon juice. Taste and season with salt, if necessary. Transfer chicken filling to a medium oval or rectangular baking dish (about 7.5 or 8 inches by 5.5 or 6 inches).
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry so that it is a little larger than your baking dish. Place the puff pastry sheet over the top of the baking dish and trim any excess with a sharp knife so there is about a half inch of overhang. Gently press the overhanging pastry against the sides of the baking dish. Cut a small slit in the center of the pie (this allows the steam to escape when it is baking).
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg with two teaspoons of water. Brush the top of the pie liberally and sprinkle evenly with the sliced almonds and granulated sugar. Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any filling that might bubble over and bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover the top of the pie loosely with aluminum foil (to prevent the almonds from getting too dark) and continue to bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the puff pastry is cooked through and golden.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.