I was excited to see the recipe for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie was Chicken B’stilla – a dish I enjoyed a few times back in 1999-2000 when I was travelleing in Morocco – when I met Neil. (for the back story on how we met, see this post). Sometimes written “Pastilla” this is one of Morocco’s legendary dishes – flaky pastry filled with sweetly spiced meat – traditionally pigeon but also made with chicken.
Dorie says “It takes time to make a b’stilla – the chicken must marinate and then be cooked ahead, and the construction is a tad artsy-craftsy – but the dish is worth the effort, especially if you are having a party. Aside from being do-aheadable (always a plus), it’s beautiful.” My kinda dish.
The chicken marinade is very easy and you simply pop the chicken thighs, marinade and all, into the oven until the chicken falls off the bone. Diced chicken meat is added back into the cooking broth and thickened with eggs and honey. It smelled so good that I could have eaten the innards, sans pastry! You then pack the “saucy chicken” (as Dorie calls it!) into layers of filo pastry. I have never actually worked with filo pastry before but I seemed to manage ok…
I was excited to see it looking good half-way through the cooking…
And it came out perfectly…
This was an incredible dish – as Dorie says, do-aheadable and beautiful (if I do say so myself!). The spices are subtle and perfume the dish beautifully and, combined with the sweet honey transported me back to Morocco. The almonds you add on the base of the pie and over the top of the chicken mixture added a lovely surprising texture – I was thinking pine nuts would work in this too – against the melt-in-your-mouth chicken.
I served it to friends for a dinner party then we had leftovers for a few more meals. Each time we reheated it in the oven, it was more flavourful and it never dried out.
Thanks Dorie for helping me overcome my fear of working with filo pastry and for helping me recreate another wonderful travel memory at home!
French Fridays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs, rather, we would prefer it if you would purchase the book yourselves (trust me, you definitely want this book!) which you can do here on Amazon (great price right now) or here on Amazon Canada (it’s also on special!). Go on, treat yourself join us in 2011!
Don’t forget to enter my RestaurantWare.com giveaway (you’re eligible wherever you live and you definitely will love these products – they make fabulous blog props!). Click here to read the post and enter! Contest closes today, Friday January 28th at 6pm EST.
(update: The contest is now closed – thanks for entering and congrats to Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen!)