Moroccan Chicken Rolls, steeped in tradition known a Pastilla, are layers of chicken, eggs, almonds and spices, made simply into a Tapas chicken roll.
What Are Moroccan Chicken Rolls?
Most often known to be a dish from Morocco, it is said to be prepared in Egypt as well, though its origin is actually from Andalusia, hence the name (Spanish) which indicates it is made in a pastry.
Chicken or quail, though originally made from squab (pigeon), raised specifically for cooking, is the heart of this dish.
Layers of flavor, both sweet (cinnamon and sugar), and sour (lemon and coriander), encased in a crunchy, buttery pastry, makes this dish something very special.
It’s not difficult to prepare. It is best, though, to approach it in steps, one being to cook the chicken in advance, or simply use leftovers from a roasted, or boiled chicken.
The rest comes together rather quickly.
Chicken Rolls Dressed Up!
Sometimes, chicken just needs to get all dressed up and look fancy!
This Moroccan Chicken Roll recipe takes the underrated chicken, and elevates it to a whole new level.
Every chef has their own idea of how they want to serve a meal for a dinner party; fine dining, casual family-style dining or tapas dining.
Tapas dining, in which many dishes are spread, as though for royalty where guests enjoy lots of Small Plate dining, is my favorite way to dine.
This Moroccan chicken roll can be prepared for any and all types of dining preferences.
A large pie can be made, served as a dinner meal, sliced at the table, or these dainty chicken rolls can be served Tapas style.
Preparing Chicken For The Chicken Rolls
Using the breast meat from a cooked chicken, as seen in our Chicken 3 Ways recipe, or any leftover chicken breast, simply shred it, so it is ready to be mixed into a filling for the rolls.
If you are not usually a chicken breast person, which I am not, don’t worry, the eggs, almond meal and olive oil will certainly bring richness to the white meat.
Moroccan Chicken Dish
The original Pastilla, Moroccan chicken pie, is served as a main course dinner, often with a cold fava bean salad.
I wanted to make a smaller, much simpler version of the traditional dish so that it is easier to make and yet the flavors are still all there.
My smaller version, I am calling Moroccan chicken rolls, is perfect to make in advance and pop in the oven minutes before serving a tapas spread or appetizer.
Tapas style dining is my most favorite way to eat. Lots of small plates with a huge variety of delicious dishes to eat.
I love this style of dining so much that I created a cookbook – The World On My Plate – dedicated just for small plate dining.
It’s a wonderful dining experience, to be able to taste lots of different dishes and not just one large plate of the same thing.
Often times, a tapas spread can be thrown together in a short time, from leftovers in your fridge or pantry items.
Preparing Moroccan Chicken Rolls
Once the chicken has been cooked and shredded, the remaining ingredients are mixed together.
The chicken filling is then placed in phyllo dough, rolled, baked, and ready to serve.
This easy dish will be sure to wow any dinner guests, or simply feel as though you have treated yourself to a very sophisticated dinner.
Don’t be intimidated to work with phyllo dough, it is quite forgiving.
The filling can even be rolled into the phyllo dough, brushed with a little melted butter, frozen or placed in the fridge, and baked at another time.
- Cooked Chicken
- Lemon juice
- Almond meal
- Olive oil
- Cayenne pepper
- Powdered sugar
- Slivered almonds
- Phyllo dough
- Cookie sheet
- Parchment paper
- Basting brush
- Citrus press
- Mixing bowl
- Small sauce pan (for melting butter)
- Small mixing cup
Moroccan Chicken Rolls
- Cooked Chicken breast – 1 ½ breast, shredded
- Eggs – 3
- Lemon juice – ½ cup
- Almond meal – 1 cup
- Olive oil – 1/8 cup
- Cinnamon – 1 tbsp
- Salt – 2 tsp
- Garlic – 2 cloves, crushed
- Cayenne pepper – a pinch or to taste
- Powdered sugar and cinnamon – 1 tsp of each, mixed to dust on top of baked rolls
- Slivered almonds – 2 tbsp to sprinkle on top of finished rolls
- Phyllo sheets – 6 sheets
- Butter – 3 tbsp, melted to brush onto phyllo dough
- In a bowl mix eggs, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. Add chicken, spices, and almond meal. Blend until all ingredients are moist.
- Brush a little melted butter onto phyllo dough, one sheet at a time until you have stacked 3 layers. Place half of the filling at one end (long end) of the phyllo sheets, gently roll and brush a little butter as you roll. Place sealed closing down onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Do the same with the second roll.
- At a diagonal, cut 1/3 way through the roll before baking. Brush any remaining butter across the top. (cutting before baking makes it easier to cut through the crunchy pastry after it is cooked)
- Bake 350 for about 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.
- While rolls are still hot, dust the cinnamon/sugar mixture across the tops, sprinkle the slivered almonds, and cut all the way through the rolls.