Try saffron chicken briouats, a savory Moroccan pastry, for a delicious appetizer or snack.
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces and skin removed
2 large onions, chopped medium
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 or 2 small pieces (2 to 3″) of cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Package of phyllo dough
4 tablespoons melted butter (for folding the briouats)
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten (for folding the briouats)
vegetable oil (for frying the briouats)
Prep Time: 90 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 100 minutes
Mix the chicken with the spices and oils in a heavy-bottomed pot. Cover the chicken, and cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about one hour, or until the chicken is very tender and falls off the bones. Do not add water, and be careful not to burn the chicken.When the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a plate to cool slightly. Continue cooking the onions and sauce in the pot for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the onions form a mass and the liquids are reduced to oils.
Add the chopped cilantro and remove from the sauce from the heat.While the chicken is still warm, pick the meat from the bones, breaking it into small one-inch pieces. Add the sauce to the chicken, and stir to coat the meat well. (The filling can be refrigerated for up to a day until you’re ready to fold the briouats.)
To fold the briouats, cut the phyllo dough into long strips about four inches wide. Use 2 phyllo sheets per briouat. Brush the bottom half of the dough with melted butter. Place a large tablespoon or two of filling towards the bottom of the dough. Fold the two long sides of the dough into the center to partially cover the filling. Fold the bottom edge of the dough up over the filling to fully enclose it. Roll the folded dough up like a rug, sealing the edge of the dough to the roll with egg yolk.
Deep fry the briouats in hot oil until light to medium golden brown, about five to seven minutes. Drain and serve. Briouats stay warm for a long time, but if frying them well in advance of serving, you can reheat them in a 350 degree oven for five to 10 minutes.
Uncooked briouats can be refrigerated for one day or can be frozen for up to two months in a freezer bag or plastic storage container. They can be fried directly from the freezer, or can thaw 30 minutes to one hour before frying.
Recipe by Christine Benlafquih