Megina is a relative of other meat pies from North African cuisine, such as the Tunisian manina or the minna, the matzah pie that Turkish Jews make on Passover. Like the rest of the meaty family members, Megina is not an everyday pie and is served for holidays, celebrations and special occasions. Megina is really more of a soufflé than a crustless quiche. You start the preparation on the stove and finish it off in the oven, so make sure to choose a wide and shallow oven-safe pan with a low rim.
Ingredients for Megina - Brain Quiche
- 2 chicken legs (thigh with attached drumstick)
- 1½ teaspoons Salt
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric or 6 saffron threads, soaked in a little water
- 30 eggs
- 1 challah Dry, sliced into finger-thick slices
- 1.1 lbs (500 grams) brain Peeled and clean
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder (1 packet)
- ¾ cup (180 ml) canola oil for frying
1. Place chicken legs in a pot, add a ¼ teaspoon of salt and cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook chicken legs for 30 minutes, drain, and reserve the cooking water for later. Set aside to cool.
2. Separate the meat from the bones, and tear into small pieces. Set aside.
3. Bring another pot with the water, a ¼ teaspoon of salt and turmeric or saffron, to a boil. Blanch the brain for fifteen minutes in boiling water. Drain and cool. Once cool, slice thinly.
4. Heat the oven to 355F (180C) degrees and line an baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Arrange slices of challah on the baking sheet and bake for about fifteen minutes, or until golden. Cool the challah slices and leave the oven on.
6. Hard boil 5 eggs (out of the 30). Peel and set aside.
7. Moisten the toasted challah slices in the reserved water used to cook the chicken. Cut into large chunks and place in a bowl. Add the brain slices, the chicken, the remaining eggs (not scrambled!), baking powder, a teaspoon of salt and white pepper and mix. NOTE: the eggs should not reach a uniform texture, this way bubbles are formed which are responsible for the airy texture.
8. Heat oil for frying in a wide and shallow oven-safe pot on medium-high heat. Pour in the mixture and fry for 15 minutes until slightly stabilized.
9. Place the hard-boiled eggs on top of the quiche mixture.
10. Transfer to the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until fully golden. Using a spoon, occasionally remove any scum that accumulates on the surface of the pie during baking.