French Fridays with Dorie: Chicken b’stilla

Dorie Greenspan chicken bstillaI 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…

I mean, look at this perfect pastry…
And the pastry flaked up beautifully…
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!

Want to join in the fun? Join French Fridays with Dorie here and follow along on Twitter.

French Fridays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs, rather, we would prefer it if you would purchase the book yourselves (trust me, you definitely want this book!)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!

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(update: The contest is now closed – thanks for entering and congrats to Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen!)

67 thoughts on “French Fridays with Dorie: Chicken b’stilla”

  1. The only thing that I not like about filo pastry is handling it. I am almost always in tears everytime so I try and avoid as much as possible.

  2. LOVE bastilla, I have had it several times in Moroccan restos or at ethnic fairs, even a homemade one at a community center pot luck. And I never made it because of the time it takes…but now tempted. Love it when sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

    YES Neil “doaheadable” is a word 😉

  3. Mardi, wasn’t this a great entertaining recipe. Yours does look exceptionally beautiful. Envious that you have been to Morocco. I have always had it on my list just haven’t gotten there yet. Enjoyed the post. Beslama! Beth

  4. Mardi – I was surprised at how easy the filo was to work with, and also loved how it puffed up in the oven during baking. Also agree the leftovers were divine – just had mine for lunch!

  5. We make bstilla for festive occasions in Morocco. Your version based on Dorie’s recipe is mouth-watering.

  6. I’ve never worked with filo pastry before. If I was assured of having the beautiful results that you did with this Chicken B’stilla I’d make something with filo in a heartbeat. Looks wonderful Mardi.

  7. Your phyllo puffed up so nicely!!! And got such a lovely brown. Mine did not – I almost pull my hair out working with the stuff. I agree – I just love this dish, and the leftovers got even better.

  8. Fantastic! I love the photo and it looks absolutely delicious. This may be a good one for us to try, my hubby loves chicken and it might be one I like to. Nicely done Mardi!

  9. This has got to be pretty amazing. Filo can be a pain to work with. I think the last time I tried was to make mini beef wellingtons. As I recall I swore quite a bit, but they tasted really good!


  10. This looks amazing — definitely looks like a gorgeous cookbook photo that a food stylist had a hand in. And of course it sounds delicious as well. Always wanted to go to Morocco…

  11. Your photos make me perpetually jealous! ; ) I feel like I’m missing out something, I really didnt like this one, and mine didnt stand up like yours seemed to….. hmm… I wonder what I did wrong? …. Good job on yours though! (this was a catch up recipe for me, just got to it this week)

  12. Pingback: Chicken Bstilla

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