This is a delicious appetizer version of the now famous mussakhan, a Palestinian dish. In Lebanon, it is made and sold at fancy markets and deli shops. In order to replicate it exactly, markuk bread (aka lavash, or Iranian bread or tannur) is needed. Furthermore, it needs to be extra thin.
As a substitute, I would simply use pre-cut yufka bread (available frozen in Middle-Eastern markets) or pre-cut phyllo strips. Or, use the entire package of phyllo (22 sheets) and cut the sheets into thirds, and double the recipe.
INGREDIENTS: 60 pieces
1 pkg of markuk, cut into strips or yufka or phyllo (1 pound)
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts or thighs deboned
2 pounds onion rings
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sumac
salt, to taste
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups (or more) chicken broth
1. Heat the oil and stir-fry the onion rings till caramelized. Add half the spices and remove from the skillet.
2. In a pot, place the chicken pieces and cover with water and any spice to season the stock such as a cinnamon stick, a few peppercorns, a bay leaf, some garlic cloves, a sprig of parsley or thyme; bring to a simmer, and simmer until the chicken is cooked. Strain the stock and place the chicken pieces on a large cutting board and shop them fine or pull them apart like a brisket. Combine the chicken with the onion and the rest of the spices.
2. Fill the strips. Place one tablespoon of chicken and onion mixture in one corner at the tip of the strip and fold the other corner over it to form a triangular shape. Continue the operation until the strip has been wrapped entirely. If using phyllo, make sure the strip is buttered or sprayed with oil. If using the bread, sprinkle it with chicken broth to keep it moist and flexible, otherwise it will crack. Slather some oil on the bread to keep it moist and pliable.
3. Bake when ready to serve in a preheated 350F oven for about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. The pieces can also be pan-fried for a couple minutes on each side.
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