Chicken Baklava with Spices and Dried Fruit
- SERVINGS: 10
Traditional baklava is a dessert made with thin layers of buttery phyllo and nuts, flavored with spices and sweetened with honey and lemon syrup. For his variation, Jean-Christophe Royer combines the ideas for baklava and bastila, a Moroccan pigeon pie, by using savory and sweet fillings together: chicken and fresh and dried fruit. At his restaurant, he serves this baklava as a side dish with pigeon roasted in a crust of Moroccan spices.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds total)
- 1 banana
- 1 large crisp apple, such as Fuji or Gala
- 1 large firm pear, such as Bosc or Bartlett
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 1 cup finely chopped mixed dried fruit, such as apricots, dates and figs (4 ounces)
- 1/2 cup chopped mint
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 package phyllo dough, thawed if frozen (1 pound)
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil with the cinnamon, coriander, cumin and ginger. Put the chicken thighs in a shallow dish and rub the spice mixture into them. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the banana, apple and pear into 1/4-inch dice and toss with the lemon juice. In a medium skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over moderate heat. Add the fruit to the pan and cook, stirring, until just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
- Spread the pine nuts in a pie plate and toast them in the oven for about 7 minutes, or until golden. Let cool.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil over moderate heat. Season the stock with salt, add the chicken thighs and simmer until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove the thighs from the stock and let cool, then cut them into 1/4-inch dice. Add the chicken to the sautéed fresh fruit along with the pine nuts, dried fruit and mint. Season with salt and pepper.
- Increase the oven temperature to 375°. Melt the remaining 1 stick of butter. Brush 1 sheet of the phyllo with some of the melted butter; keep the rest of the phyllo covered with a damp towel. Cut the buttered phyllo sheet lengthwise into 3 equal strips. Place 1 tablespoon of filling 1 inch from the top of a strip. Fold the phyllo strip like a flag: Fold 1 corner of the phyllo over the filling to enclose it and form a triangle. Then fold the filled corner down to form a triangle; continue folding the triangle across and down until all of the phyllo strip is used. Set the triangle on a baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth. Continue with the remaining phyllo dough, butter and filling.
- Brush the triangles with butter and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.