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Moroccan Chicken-Almond Pastilla

INGREDIENTS:1 pound butter, melted
40 phyllo pastry sheets, trimmed to 9x13 inches
1 pound roasted almonds (recipe follows)
8 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 pound, 9 oz. spiced chicken (recipe follows)
1 pound, 7 oz. egg mixture (recipe follows)
as needed, powdered sugarDIRECTIONS: For spiced chicken:
In a heavy pot, heat 1 cup olive oil; add 3 pounds chopped yellow onions, 1 cup chopped parsley, 6 Tbsp. minced garlic, 1 Tbsp. salt, 1 ½ tsp. ground coriander, 1 ½ tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. white pepper, and 3/4 tsp. ground ginger.

SautT until onions are translucent. Add 10 to 11 pounds of chicken quarters, and sautT until seared and evenly covered with spice mixture. Add 6 quarts water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 1 hour, uncovered, until chicken easily separates from bone. Remove and cool chicken. Reserve cooking liquid. Skin and bone chicken. Shred meat into bowl. Add 2 cups cooking liquid and toss. Cover and set aside.

For egg mixture:
In a saucepan, bring cooking liquid to a boil. Add eggs and stir with whisk until eggs scramble. Pour entire mixture through strainer, allowing some liquid to remain in eggs to keep them moist. Cover and set aside. Discard remaining broth.

For almond mixture:
In a large sautT pan heat 1 pound whole, blanched almonds in ¼ cup olive oil over medium heat until dark golden in color, tossing frequently to prevent burning. Cool. In a food processor, finely chop the almonds. Mix in 2 Tbsp. sugar. Set aside.

To assemble and bake pastillas:
Brush 6 ½-inch heavy, oven-proof skillet with butter. Brush three sheets of phyllo and crisscross in pan, allowing edges to hang over sides. Sprinkle with generous 1 ½ ounces roasted almonds and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Butter another pastry sheet and cover almonds.Top with 3 ounces of spiced chicken and another buttered pastry sheet. Top with 2 ½ ounces egg mixture and another buttered pastry sheet.

Repeat last step two more times to make 9 layers, ending with 2 buttered pastry sheets. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make two more pastillas.

Bake in a 350¦ F oven until pastry is deep golden and crisp, about 25 minutes. Turn out onto serving dish and dust generously with powdered sugar and remaining cinnamon. Serve immediately.SERVINGS:24 servings, 3 pastillas eachFrom:Chef Mourad Lahlou, Kasbah Restaurant, San Raf'l, Calif.PHOTO CREDIT:Photo Credit: THE ALMOND BOARD OF CALIFORNIA