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Saffron Chicken Briouat

Briouat (pronounced bree-wat) is the Moroccan name for this flaky pastry with a variety of possible fillings. Tunisian call them briks, and in Algeria they are boureks. They are traditionally made with a pastry dough called ouarka, but phyllo dough or egg roll wrappers are a good substitute, depending on what shape you intend to make them. They can be rolled into cigar shapes, or folded up into triangles or rectangles. Popular fillings are vegetables like spinach or mashed potatoes, chicken, tuna and eggs, or seafood.

These saffron chicken briouats are folded up into a triangular shape.

You can either bake or fry these pastries. If you plan to bake them brush the phyllo dough with melted butter after you roll them up. Line them up on a baking sheet, and then bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 12-15 minutes.

For frying you do not need to use butter, although you can brush on some beaten egg to seal the phyllo dough. Fry them in about 2 inches of vegetable oil, heated up to 365°F or until a piece of dough dropped in the pan sizzles and turns brown. If you plan to bake them preheat your oven to 425°F, and bake on a cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes.

Ingredient list
Golden chicken for briouats sautes in a pan. Chop the chicken for briouat into small pieces.
  1. Slice chicken breasts into thin fillets. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy skillet and sautee chicken until brown on both sides. Remove from skillet.
  2. Add onion and garlic to skillet and cook until soft. Add saffron, parsley, salt and pepper. Return chicken to skillet. Add the water and cook for about 10 minutes until water evaporates and chicken is cooked through.
  3. Remove chicken mixture from heat and cool. When it is cool, chop the whole mixture into fine pieces.
  4. Lay phyllo dough with short edge facing you, and cut into 3 equal sections, each about 2 inches wide. Cut the furthest edge of each strip diagonally, and leave the edge facing you straight. If you are baking the briouats, have a stick of melted butter on hand, and preheat your oven to 425°F.
  5. Place a tablespoon of chicken mixture at the end of a phyllo length. I use a thickness of two sheets of phyllo because it stays drier is much easier to work with.
  6. Fold the edge of the phyllo sheets over the filling diagonally. Then continue folding up the filling on a diagonal, always folding across the long, straight edge.
  7. When you get to the end, tuck the last edge under or seal it by brushing with a bit of beaten egg. If you plan to bake the briouats, brush all over with melted butter, which will also seal it.
  8. To fry, heat about 2 inches of oil in a heavy (preferably cast iron) pan until a piece of dough sizzles and turns brown when you drop in into the oil. Fry the briouats, turning occasionally, until golden brown.
  9. Or, bake for about 12-15 minutes.
Place scoop of chicken at the end of the phyllo strip. Begin rolling phyllo over chicken in a triangle shape.
Chicken briouat triangles on a pan ready to bake or fry. Chicken briouats bubble as they turn golden in the hot oil.

Makes about 30-40 chicken briouats.

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Golden fried briouats in two different shapes.