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Chicken Pastilla Recipe

a pizza sitting on top of a plate of food on a table

Yield: 1 pie

Pie Crust (bottom):

2 cups (280 g) all-purpose gluten-free flour (I like Better Batter here) OR regular AP Flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum for GF recipe (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 teaspoon (3 g) sea salt
5 tablespoons (70 g) extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/2 to 3/4 cup (4 fl. oz. to 6 fl. oz.) cold water

Chicken & Sauce:

1.5 lb organic chicken thighs
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tsp pink peppercorns
2 Tbsp cinnamon, split in half (plus more for garnish)
2 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp (dash) cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
8 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz. puréed tomatoes
1 tsp dried chipotle chiles, seeds removed
½ c brandy or sherry
2 c white wine
2 c vegetable or chicken stock
1 ½ oz. dark chocolate (85% cocoa solids)
4 oz filo pastry (about 10 sheets)
1 c olive oil (for pastry)
5 mint leaves, julienne, for garnish

Catalan Spinach:

3 small shallots or 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ c Valdespino sherry or brandy
3 ½ oz currants or raisins
10 oz baby spinach leaves, washed
5oz pine nuts, toasted


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, place the flour, [xanthan gum] and salt, and whisk to combine well. Pour in the olive oil and then the vinegar, and stir with a fork to combine. Add 1/2 cup of cold water and stir until the flour absorbs the water, then mix or knead until the dough comes together. If the dough is crumbly, add more water by the tablespoon, mixing after each addition, until the dough is smooth. Split dough in half. Use one half for this recipe and save the second half for another time! (For GF, use both halves for bottom &top).

Line 9-10” pie pan with olive oil. Sprinkle with flour to cover. Press pie dough into pan to fit bottom of pan. Bake in oven about 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.


Coat chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cinnamon. Set aside.

Preheat large pan on medium-high. Add olive oil and sliced onions. Sauté about 10 minutes, stirring often, until very caramelized, soft and brown (without letting stick to the bottom of the pan). Add garlic, cook 2 more minutes. Add purédd tomatoes, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, pink peppercorns, chipotle chiles plus ½ tsp sea salt. Continue to cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then add brandy/sherry. Cook 2 minutes, then add wine and stock. Reduce heat to low and simmer.

In separate dutch-oven (such as @lecreuset), preheat on medium-high. Add olive oil and sear chicken about 5 minutes on one side. Flip and repeat but do not cook through. Once seared on both sides, pour in tomato mixture. Wash that pan to re-use for Catalan spinach. Bring mixture in dutch oven to a light boil, then reduce heat to a strong simmer and cook another 10 minutes until chicken is just cooked through. Remove chicken and let cool on a plate. Continue to cook sauce uncovered 20 more minutes until sauce is thick. Once chicken is cool, shred it and add back to sauce.

Continue to simmer chicken until sauce is thick and not runny. Reserve for pie.

Catalan Spinach:

Meanwhile, make Catalan spinach. Preheat large pan on medium-high heat. Add olive oil and onions. Sauté 5 minutes until soft. Add garlic, cook 2 minutes. Pour in brandy/sherry. Add currants, smoked paprika and dash of sea salt. Let cook 2 minutes. Once reduced, add spinach slowly, stirring often. Once spinach is wilted, sprinkle in pine nuts.

Lie chicken mixture on top of cooked pie crust to cover bottom of pie. Add spinach on top and spread out to fill pie. Cover chicken mixture with additional pie crust, or layers of filo. Be sure to brush each individual sheet of filo with olive oil and stack on top of each other, tucking corners into sides of pan.

Bake 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees F, until mixture is bubbling and crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped mint on top.

Slice and serve! (Pairs well with Greek yogurt mixed with fresh garlic, salt and lemon juice. Also pairs well with a nice, light salad!)