Morocco – Lamb Pastilla

I went to Morocco a number of years ago, travelling round Marrakech, Casablanca, the Atlas mountains, Fez, the sahara desert (I even rode on a camel), and Essaouira (which I loved).  I particularly remember all the souks and spice markets in Fez and Marrakechand loved the hustle and bustle of the markets stalls.  I ended up buying a few gorgeous bowls and lots of trinkets, some of which have never been used, but they still bring back memories.

The food in Morocco was really tasty – I loved all the tagines with lamb and apricot, all the spices and dried fruits, the tasty rices and grains.  However, there’s one dish I would never order again – cheese omelette.  We were in a little roadside café for lunch and I fancied a cheese omelette, which I don’t think you can really go wrong with.  It came out stuffed with triangular shaped lumps and it wasn’t until I ate it that I realised the cheese they’d used was those Dairy Lea triangles – remember those?!  It really did not work – definitely a no-no!

I didn’t try pastilla while I was in Morocco, but thought it sounded a bit different.  It’s both sweet and savoury and it went down a treat with some interesting salads and a lovely chilled glass of wine.  You could even make individual ones, rather than a big one, and wrap the filo pastry up like samosas – perfect for nibbles at a drinks party or a tasty snack or starter.


Lamb Pastilla

Adapted from recipe on Tesco website:

  • 4-5 sheets filo pastry, kept under a damp cloth
  • 500g lean lamb mince
  • 1½tsp ground cumin
  • 1½tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½tsp ground coriander
  • 1tbsp honey
  • 50g sultanas
  • 1tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Icing sugar
  • Flaked almonds, to decorate


Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

Combine the lamb mince, cumin, cinnamon, coriander and seasoning in a large mixing bowl. Mix well until combined.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a moderate heat. Brown the mince well all over, stirring occasionally, for roughly 6-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sultanas, honey and parsley. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Grease an 8 inch pie plate or cake tin and line with 2 sheets of the damp pastry, cutting off any overhanging pastry. I used the cut off bits of pastry to line the inside of the base to make it a bit sturdier.  Fill the pastry with the lamb mixture. Cover with the remaining damp pastry sheets as evenly as possible and seal well at the edges by tucking in under the filo pastry used to line the base.

Sprinkle flaked almonds over the top of the pastry and using a sieve, lightly cover with icing sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry if golden and flaky.

Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes before turning out and cutting into portions.

We had it with a selection of tasty salads and a nice cold glass of white wine.


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