Makes 8 to 10 servings
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper or 12 whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon saffron strands, crumbled
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 5lb Whole Chicken, Cut in 1/8ths or 5lbs Cornish Hen Trims, cut in quarters
- 4 cups chicken broth or water
- ½ to 1 cup chopped fresh flat- leaf parsley or cilantro, or ½ cup each
- 6 large eggs, well beaten
- 1 2/3 cups (8 ounces) blanched almonds, toasted (or deep-fried in peanut oil) and cooled
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1½ teaspoons orange-blossom water or 1 tablespoon rose water (optional)
- 10 sheets phyllo dough or warka
- About ¾ cup duck schmaltz or vegetable oil
- About 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling
- 1 to 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon for sprinkling
Make the chicken layer
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the ginger, pepper, coriander, turmeric, saffron, and cinnamon and sauté for 1 minute. Add the chicken or Cornish hens and toss to coat. Add the broth and parsley. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until tender, about 40 minutes.
Reduce the liquid & make sauce
Remove the chicken. Strain the cooking liquid. You can reserve the solids and add to the reduced liquid or discard the solids. Place the cooking liquid over high heat and reduce to about 1 cup, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the meat from the bones and shred; you should have about 5 cups.
Whisk the reduced liquid into the eggs. If desired, add the strained cooking solids. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and let cool.
Make the almond layer
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, finely grind the almonds, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the oil and, if using, orange-blossom water. Set aside.
Layer Phyllo & Bake
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a 10- or 11- inch round baking dish, springform pan, or ovenproof skillet.
Line the prepared dish with a sheet of phyllo, draping the excess over the edge. Brush lightly with oil. Repeat layering and brushing with 5 more sheets, draping each in a different direction. Spread one- third of the egg mixture over the pastry in the pan. Mix another one- third of the egg mixture with the shredded chicken and pack into the pie. Spread the remaining egg mixture over top, then sprinkle with the almond mixture. Fold the pastry edges toward the center of the pie. Top with the remaining 4 sheets of phyllo, brushing each with oil, and tuck in the edges.
Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Lightly sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, then sprinkle lines of cinnamon to form a diamond pattern. Let stand at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes before cutting into wedges.