Moroccan Lamb Pastillas Recipe

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 brik or werqa pastry covered and flavoured sweet and salty Moroccan lamb pastillas recipe

Pastilla is a pie. Moroccan, or Moorish in origin (everything Moorish is so moreish! Excuse the pathetic pun), meat-filled, filo, brik or werqa pastry covered and flavoured sweet and salty – heaven in taste. Quite different to a stodgy steak and kidney pie, eh? Not, of course, that there’s anything wrong with a steak and kidney, when you’re in need of a bit of stodge.

The pastilla should classically be baked as a round large pie, then sliced into wedges. Very often though you see recipes for or get served individual pastillas, rolled and shaped like cigars. Easier, I guess. And you get more pastry.

Great way to use leftover roast. Chicken, beef or pork can be happily eaten cold the following day, lamb – not as much, especially fattier cuts like shoulder. So unless you’re very dedicated and want to mince the leftovers, season and stuff into dumplings or ravioli, this is the way to go.

Lamb, chicken, pork, game, duck – anything goes. I wouldn’t cook the meat specially for the pastillas though, unless to make them is your heart’s desire and you don’t have leftover meat.

Recipe borrowed heavily from Matty, who borrowed from Jamie Oliver. Matty’s website is nicer.


Makes 4 pastillas, to serve 2 people
50g couscous
50ml boiling water
a drizzle of olive oil, for frying
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 small onion, finely chopped
130-150g leftover cooked lamb, shredded finely
30g feta cheese
30g sultanas
salt and pepper
4 sheets of filo pastry
olive oil or melted butter, for brushing
For the topping:
flaked almonds
sesame seeds
1 tsp icing sugar mixed with ½ tsp ground cinnamon
For the dip:
4 tbsp. Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp. rose harissa
a drizzle of olive oil


Pour the boiling water over the couscous, cover with cling film and leave for 10 minutes. In the meantime, heat up the olive oil in a pan large enough to fit the onion, garlic and the lamb. Add the spices and garlic and cook gently until it only just starts to sizzle and swirl. Add the onion and cook for 10-15 minutes until soft. Add the lamb and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Preheat the panggangan to 190C/375F/gas 5. Line a baking sheet or tray with parchment.

Transfer the lamb mixture to a large bowl, or use the pan you cooked it in, if large enough. Crumble in the feta cheese, add the couscous fluffed up with a fork, the sultanas and season very well with salt and pepper.

Place a sheet of filo on a wooden board, keep the other sheets rolled up and covered with a tea towel, it dries out at the speed of light. Brush the pastry sheet with olive oil or butter (the latter makes it more crispy). Place a quarter of the filling alongside the shorter, bottom edge which should be closest to you (turn the board around if it isn’t). Roll it up a third way up, fold the sides over the filling and continue rolling up like a cigar. Place the pastille, seam side down, on the prepared tray and cover with another tea towel while you roll up the remaining ones.

When ready to bake, brush the pastillas on the tray with more oil or butter, sprinkle with almond flakes and sesame, and sieve the cinnamon icing sugar over each one.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until crispy and golden. In the meantime prepare the dip: place the yoghurt in a small bowl, drizzle with olive oil and spoon the harissa into the middle. Swirl into a ripple with a small spoon, without mixing it through.

Serve with green or Greek salad, also delishhh cold.


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