Moroccan Chicken Pie B’stilla

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 large onions, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon ras el hanout (page 32)
1 free-range chicken (about 21/4
lbs/1kg), quartered
1 cup (250 ml) water
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 small bunch fresh coriander leaves
(cilantro), chopped
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley,

chopped
Almond Paste
11/2 cups (225 g) blanched, peeled

almonds
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange flower water

Pastry
12 sheets filo pastry or Warka Pastry
Leaf (page 35)
3/4 cup (180 g) butter, melted
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
Toppings (optional)
3/4 cup (100 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Heat the oil over medium–high heat in
a large Dutch oven. Add the onions, the ras el hanout and mix well. Add the
chicken and brown it on all sides. Add the water, cover and bake in the
oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
2 Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside to cool. Add the lemon
juice to the sauce and reduce it on top of the stove over medium heat for
10 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, strip the meat off the bones, cut it
into small pieces and set it aside.
3 To make the Almond Paste, heat the oil in a skillet and fry the almonds
until golden, taking care not to burn them. Remove the almonds from the
pan and process them in a food processor until finely ground. Combine the
almonds with the sugar, cinnamon, and orange flower water in a bowl. Stir
or knead until the mixture is a thick paste.
4 Grease a 9-in (23-cm), round baking dish with butter. Lay one sheet of
pastry in the center of the dish and brush with butter. Fan additional sheets
of pastry out from the center of the dish and brush each sheet with butter.
Layer half of the Almond Paste in the dish, cover with the chicken, then the
sauce. Top with the remaining Almond Paste. Layer three sheets of pastry
over the top and make a seam by tucking the overhang under the edge of
the inside of the dish. Brush the top of the pie with the remaining melted
butter and brush the pastry seams with beaten egg yolk.
5 Bake for 1 hour at 400°F (200°C). Serve the pie sprinkled with confectioners’
sugar and cinnamon, if desired.

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