pigeon pastilla - serves 4

10 pigeons breasts, skinned and cut into cubes
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp grated root ginger
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ras-el-hanout
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100g frozen peas, thawed
1 clove garlic, crushed
a pinch of saffron in 150ml hot chicken stock
150 ml red wine
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander

2 tbsp ground almonds
1 tbsp icing sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
good grind of black pepper

8 sheets of filo pastry
20g butter melted

icing sugar for dusting
more ground cinnamon for decoration

Soften the onion in some oil and butter.

Add the pigeons breast and lightly brown.

Add the turmeric, ginger, salt and ras-el-hanout and stir for one more minute.

Add the saffron and chicken stock, bring to a simmer.and cover.

Reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the lid adding the peas and the red wine

Simmer to reduce the liquid is almost all eveporated.

Slowly stir the garlic and beaten eggs into the stew

Heat the oven to 200C

Mix the almonds, icing sugar and ground cinammon

the thickened sauce and increase the heat to medium-high, turning very slowly to scramble the eggs into the sauce.

Add the chopped parsley and coriander, pepper and stir

Spread out 2 sheets of buttered filo, one on the other.

Sprinkle with almond, sugar and cinnamon. Add 1/4 of the pigeon meat in a square in the bottom 1/3rd of the filo, leaving enough spare edge to fold over and cover the meat

Fold the sides in and then fold the bottom part of the filo over the mixture. Creafully roll over the filo to make a spring roll like construct. Repeat for the other 3

Butter the outside an put onto a baking tray. You can chill and keep in the refrigerator if deired

Heat oven to 180C

Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are a golden brown. Alternatively, deep fry at 170C for five minutes until starting to turn a golden brown

Remove to kitchen towel to remove any excess oil.

Dust with icing sugar on the top and draw a couple of vertical and horizontal lines with powdered cinnamon, and serve warm


This is a more modern take on a Moorish appetiser of Persian origin - looks like it should be a dessert with the sweet exterior, but the sweetness blends well with the savoury interior