Spiced sweet potato and chicken pastilla

Serves: 6
Course: Dinner
Cooking Time: 1 hr NaN mins
Prep Time: 10 mins
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large bite-size pieces
  • 3 large chicken breasts
  • 2tbs olive oil
  • 2tbs ras el hanout spice mix
  • ½tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 120g chopped dates
  • 1 pack of filo pastry
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 1tsp nigella, poppy, sesame or pomegranate seeds, or a mixture of
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Place the sweet potato chunks and chicken breasts on a large tray. Drizzle the olive oil on top and add the spices. Season well with salt and black pepper. Mix to combine.
  3. Place the tray in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the chicken and sweet potato are cooked though. Remove the tray from the oven. Shred the chicken using two forks. Add the chopped dates and mix everything together well. Gently crush the sweet potato as your mix. You don’t want a mash or purée but just to gently break up the chunks so they soak up the juices and spices.
  4. Brush a 22-24cm loose-bottomed cake tin with butter. Lay a sheet of filo pastry on top. Brush another sheet with butter and lay it on top the opposite way to create an X. Repeat this brushing with butter and layering with eight sheets.
  5. Place all of the chicken and sweet potato mix in the middle of the tin. Brush one sheet of filo pastry with butter, then fold it over and scrunch it up like a rose. Place it in the middle of the pie, then gather all the buttered sheets around the edges towards the middle.
  6. Brush the entire pie with butter. Scatter with nigella or sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until deeply golden.
  7. Leave to sit in the tin for five minutes before transferring to a serving plate.
Lilly Higgins

Lilly Higgins

Lilly Higgins, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a food writer