Turkey Pilaff in Filo Pastry

I am not a great fan of turkey but I am always being asked for ways of using it and there is no doubt that if you cook one there will be leftovers. A pilaff is an interesting Persian dish and enclosed in filo pastry this has quite a Turkish flavour, even if the name of the bird is merely a historical mistake.


  • 150g/6oz butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 55g/2oz pine nuts
  • 225g/8oz long grain rice
  • 600ml/1 pint chicken stock
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp currants ½ tsp allspice
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 1 small courgette, chopped
  • 4 chicken livers, chopped
  • 225g/8oz turkey raw or cooked, sliced in thin strips
  • juice and rind of 1 lemon
  • 8 sheets filo pastry melted butter


In a large pan heat 115g/4oz of the butter and cook the onion until soft, add pine nuts and rice and cook over heat until slightly coloured. Add half the chicken stock a little at a time to allow the rice to absorb it. Stir in the tomatoes, currants, spices, sugar and seasoning. Pour on the rest of the chicken stock and bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the rice is tender and the stock is absorbed, about 15–20 minutes.

In a small pan heat the remaining butter and sauté the pepper, celery and courgette. Add the chicken livers and turkey strips if uncooked, season and cook until the chicken livers are just done. Add this to the rice mixture with lemon juice and rind. Grease an 20cm/8in cake tin. Brush each sheet of filo with melted butter. Place sheets to cover inside of tin, letting them hang over the sides. Fill with the mixture, fold pastry over the top and brush with melted butter. Bake at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 25–30 minutes until golden brown. Turn onto a dish and serve hot or cold.