Duck, Onion and Date Pastilla
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    Makes 24
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These pastillas take you on a taste adventure but surprisingly they are not spicy at all. However the mixture of savory with the sweetness of the dates and the incredible moreish-ness of the duck wrapped in crispy filo pastry laced with wild sumac, creates a fantastic flavour feast.

I have a special affection for dates as you most probably would have noticed that I  use  these in a few of my recipes. When I spent time in Israel, I working at a field school in Gidron, near Hatzeva, I remember the journey to Eilat. The road was long, dusty, dry and hot but most of all I remembered the incredible date plantations that seemed to stretch for miles. The trees were incredibly green and stood tall in the desert, I used to wonder how they survived as nothing else seemed to withstand the desert conditions, still mind boggling.

This recipe takes my spirit to the warmer climates and it takes my taste buds on a wonderful taste adventure. I froze half of the pastillas before baking them for a “rainy day” and the rest made a delicious supper. These pastillas will make the perfect partner for a drinks party and a Martini!photo of Duck, Onion and Date Pastillaphoto of Duck, Onion and Date Pastillaphoto of Duck, Onion and Date Pastillaphoto of Duck, Onion and Date Pastillaphoto of Duck, Onion and Date Pastillaphoto of Duck, Onion and Date Pastilla

Ingredients & Method

Duck Pastilla

  • 200g white onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • Pinch saffron
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • Pinch dried chilli flakes
  • 100g diced dates
  • 1tablespoon unsalted butter + 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • 200g flaked cooked duck meat
  • 1 medium free range egg
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 8 filo pastry sheets; 42cm x 29cm each sheet
  • Sumac
  • 4 tablespoon finely chopped English parsley

Lemon Yoghurt and Sumac sauce/ dip

  • 100ml Greek yoghurt
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of sumac
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Place the sliced onion, garlic, saffron, vinegar, sugar ginger, chilli flakes, dates and 1 tbs butter with seasoning in a medium saucepan with a lid over medium heat, cook for 15 minutes, stir occasionally. Let the mix cool completely.

Once the onions are cold in a large mixing bowl mix the onion mix with the flaked duck, egg, lemon zest and juice.

To make the pastilla: Place one piece of the filo pastry on a large chopping board or a clean work surface. Lightly brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with the sumac and chopped parsley. Place another sheet on top and press down so that they stick together. Cut it into 6cm wide strips, I get 6 strips out of this. Spoon 20g of the duck mixture at the bottom of each strip.

Fold the pastillas into triangles, brush the end with more melted butter and fold them over, brush the outside with melted butter and garnish the pastillas with sumac. Let the butter set completely. Continue until all the mixture is used.

Place the pastillas on a lined baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 200C and bake the pastillas for 18 – 20 minutes until golden brown and crisp.

While they are baking mix all the ingredients for the yoghurt dip together, season to taste.

Let the pastillas cool for a couple of minutes before serving them with the lemon yoghurt and sumac sauce/ dip.

Coo’s notes

These pastillas could be made larger size and serve one or two as a portion for a starter. You could make the pastillas in advance and freeze them. Make sure you separate each layer with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together. Cook the pastillas from frozen,but cook them  for a longer time and make sure they are piping hot on the inside.

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