At San Francisco’s Aziza, chef Mourad Lahlou serves beautifully reinvented Moroccan dishes like his much-loved Duck Confit Basteeya. “A classic bastilla is pretty much a potpie: a meat stew topped with sweetened and spiced ground almonds, all covered in flaky warka dough (a lot like phyllo),” Lahlou explains. “I've always found it one-dimensional and too sweet, when there should be a balance of sweet and savory.” At Aziza, Lahlou makes his version with confited duck legs, which are cured overnight in ras el hanout (a blend of North African spices) then slow-cooked in duck fat. “We mix the tender confited meat with caramelized onions and raisins, and then wrap them in phyllo, with toasted almonds ground up with cinnamon and orange blossom water. It comes to the plate in a warm, tidy phyllo package, with all the aromas locked inside, so it looks like a present.” Served with a tart verjus crème fraîche, the dish comes with seasonal vegetables like roasted turnips in fall. “Every bite has a little surprise,” Lahlou says. “It's savory, moist, tender. It has crunch. It has everything that you would want in a dish.”
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