Moroccan Honey Chicken in Phyllo

The other evening we met Grandma and Grandpa for dinner at Oasis, a really unique little Moroccan joint with good eats located in downtown San Luis Obispo. I don’t know how much Moroccan cuisine you have been exposed to, but it is a really lovely combination of vegetables and meats done with a spicy kick, while balanced beautifully with heady spices and oftentimes a sprucing of fruit. Indian chutney would be a good likeness, perhaps. Anyways, we ordered so many fabulous dishes and just hit-it family style. The obvious is that we were all dying over the flavors, but the happy reality is that my three kiddos were equally enamoured (ha spell check is highlighting my word, hurry, start using the word enamoured before it disappears….sorry, a tad of an English geek).
Perhaps the most addictive of all the bites for the kids were these little fingers of phyllo dough wrapped around creamy honey chicken laced with cinnamon….seriously yummy. Even my dad (aka Grandpa) who literally used to be the Marlboro Man, looooved them (yep, I was raised in one of those weird Hollywood families watching Mommy and Daddy on TV…but we have all managed to flee the insane and land on the Central Coast, finally). After one bite, my eight year old declared (rather loudly for a restaurant environment), “Mom, you have got to make these at home, pleeeeeeeease!?”
So, last night I gave it a whirl and we were all rather pleased (especially my husband whom for the last several nights has been wondering about my culinary skills…there is a lot of frozen pizza that comes to the coffee table when one is lushing out the decor for a Ball over the weekend:)tee-hee, I openly embrace that I cannot do it all!) Here is the copycat recipe for you to try…the only alteration that I would probably make from my endeavors last night, would be to add in some chopped dried apricot, yum!

Start out with three chicken breasts in olive oil…this is the perfect dish to use some frozen chicken, it works perfectly.

Now add in a large onion, chopped…oh, and season away with some salt and fresh cracked pepper.

If you are using frozen chicken, like I did, then cover your pan to super heat the chicken for 10-15 minutes (check on it after 10 minutes).  It doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through, because you are now going to take your spatula and start cutting/jabbing them into smaller chunks.

At this point, I dusted my chicken with 1/4 cup of flour and stirred it over a medium heat to cook out that flour taste.

After you have cooked and stirred for a couple of minutes, it should appear a tad pasty.  Add in a 1/4 cup of chicken broth (or more if needed) to make a light “gravy.” Now add in 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and a 1/3 cup of honey and stir.

Things are looking and tasting scrumptious!

Now onto the slightly more nerve wracking aspect of this dinner!

Honestly, once you get over the worry of totally screwing up dinner, phyllo dough is super easy to work with….stay anxiety-free and just go for it! (However, I do not recommend answering the phone in the middle of tackling this….I was a bit short with my aunt when she called and had to apologize later….I shouldn’t even contemplate answering the phone when I’m rushing to get dinner ready for three hungry gremlins, working with phyllo, and trying to snap blog pix for all y’all:).  Just pretend it ain’t ringin’).

The best part about working with phyllo is that wrinkles don’t matter.  In fact, tears don’t even matter because of the layering that is happening.  Just make sure to keep your stack of phyllo protected from air and water while it’s waiting for you (I cover my stack with plastic and then a clean, wet kitchen towel).

Carefully lift way one sheet and put it on your work space.  Brush half the sheet with olive oil (btw olive oil spray works even better and faster if you have it on hand), and then sprinkle a bit of sea salt before folding the sheet in half.  Now you have a half sheet size with olive oil sandwiched in-between.  Brush that top layer with some more olive oil and place another sheet on top, repeating by brushing half the sheet and folding over.  Now you have a half sheet size with essentially four layers.  Go ahead and repeat with one more sheet, totaling six layers in all.

Now spoon in some of the honey chicken filling and begin to roll.  Start at one end and tuck in the ends as you roll all the way down to the end.

Now brush the top with olive oil and set it aside while you prep the rest.

Throw them into a 350* oven and cook until golden (essentially follow the package directions because your filling is fully cooked).

Mission complete!  My eight year old told me that he wants to marry me!! LOL! His future wife will have to know that he is a strict case of “the way to the heart is through the stomach”

I hope you get a chance to try this recipe out…not vegan or gluten-free, but totally a happy recipe for kids and husband alike.  And like I said, next time I’m adding apricots!  Yum!  Oh, and if you want to get fussy and make these even more slender (in shape, not calories), maybe two to one half sheet of phyllo, they would make excellent appetizers.

Bon appetit!

~Chanda

Moroccan Honey Chicken Phyllo Wraps

  • 3 chicken breasts, frozen is fine and easy
  • 1 tbl of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup of chicken broth, or more if needed to make a light gravy
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 package of phyllo dough, defrosted in the fridge or counter-top according to package directions
  • olive oil for brushing the phyllo dough
  • sea salt, for sprinkling on the first layer of phyllo dough
  • 1/2 cup of dried apricot, chopped (optional)

Place the chicken in a large skillet with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the chopped onion.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Use your spatula to chunk up the chicken.  And the apricots if you are choosing that option.  Now add the flour and stir and cook until you have a paste.  Add the chicken broth and stir to make a light gravy.  Add in the cinnamon and honey, stir.  Prep your phyllo dough (Carefully lift way one sheet and put it on your work space.  Brush have the sheet with olive oil (btw olive oil spray works even better and faster if you have it on hand), and then sprinkle a bit of sea salt before folding the sheet in half.  Now you have a half sheet size with olive oil sandwiched in-between.  Brush that top layer with some more olive oil and place another sheet on top, repeating by brushing half the sheet and folding over.  Now you have a half sheet size with essentially four layers.  Go ahead and repeat with one more sheet, totaling six layers in all).  Place your chicken filling on one end and roll up while tucking the sides of the phyllo dough in…like a burrito.  Brush with olive oil and set aside while you complete the rest of the rolls.  Cook them in a 350* oven according to package directions and enjoy.  Enjoy!

 

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