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French Fridays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs, rather, we would prefer it if you would purchase the book yourselves (trust me, you definitely want this book!)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

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!)

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67 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Chicken b’stilla

  1. Blog is the New Blak January 28, 2011 at 06:32 #

    Interesting dish- looks awesome! 🙂

  2. penny aka jeroxie January 28, 2011 at 06:56 #

    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.

  3. Lael Hazan @educatedpalate January 28, 2011 at 07:31 #

    Lovely! A dish that is “doaheadable” and is tasty and delicious! You have a romantic winner!

  4. Belinda @zomppa January 28, 2011 at 08:12 #

    This is one of my favorite recipes ever!! I use hard boiled eggs in mine, too. Beautiful!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 31, 2011 at 15:46 #

      Yes there was egg in the sauce but not hard boiled. I think I remember there being hard boiled eggs in the ones I ate in Morocco.

  5. Mr. Neil January 28, 2011 at 08:38 #

    Are we seriously going to try to add “doaheadable” to the English language? 🙁

  6. Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris January 28, 2011 at 08:40 #

    Every time I go to Morocco, I eat “Pastilla au pigeon” Your chicken version is just as tasty !! Congrats!!

  7. Evan Thomas January 28, 2011 at 10:05 #

    Great layers on the crust!

  8. Susan January 28, 2011 at 10:33 #

    Absolutely beautiful! My first time working with Filo, too, but I definitely will again. I loved this recipe – it was challenging & rewarding!

  9. Ang January 28, 2011 at 10:35 #

    I’m totally impressed. I would love a nice big slice of this with a green salad. Yummy!

  10. Roxan January 28, 2011 at 10:47 #

    Oh, this look so delicious! It’s like a fancy pot pie ;] I love how flaky that crust looks.

  11. Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz January 28, 2011 at 11:14 #

    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 😉

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 31, 2011 at 15:44 #

      TOTALLY a word. Neil – you’re outvoted! It really does not take that much time – the fiddly part is the filo, that’s all…

  12. beth@thescreenporch January 28, 2011 at 13:44 #

    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

  13. Steph@stephsbitebybite January 28, 2011 at 14:05 #

    This looks so good!! I’ll be making mine this weekend, but your pictures have me wishing that I already had some made!

  14. Sarah January 28, 2011 at 14:08 #

    good for you for making the ultimate of Moroccan pies. It looks incredible!

  15. Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie January 28, 2011 at 14:16 #

    That looks wonderful. I love the “saucy chicken” and the gorgeous layers of Phyllo. I’m definitely bookmarking this one!

  16. Monica January 28, 2011 at 15:28 #

    Beautiful! I’m so glad we made this recipe!!

  17. Cakewhiz January 28, 2011 at 15:35 #

    that looks incredible and the top looks so nice and flaky!

  18. Denise January 28, 2011 at 16:53 #

    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!

  19. ComeUndone January 28, 2011 at 18:10 #

    Love the photo at the top of your top. The colour and texture are beautiful.

  20. Cher January 28, 2011 at 20:58 #

    Using the tart pan was a great thought – it saved you from the “flip”. Very nice.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 31, 2011 at 15:41 #

      You know, I didn’t even read about the “flip” until after I was done. I am often guilty of not reading recipes all the way through 😉

  21. thatssoron January 28, 2011 at 21:22 #

    very nice indeed! great shots there

  22. Nisrine|Dinners & Dreams January 28, 2011 at 21:29 #

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

  23. melissa @IWasBornToCook January 28, 2011 at 21:33 #

    Looks terrific! Phyllo is tough but after some practice it gets easier.

  24. Betsy January 28, 2011 at 21:38 #

    Your “pie” looks great. I used a springform pan, but your tart pan is a good idea too. The herb sprinkle looks so fresh!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 31, 2011 at 15:40 #

      I was going to use a springform and even had it out to look at but decided I didn’t know how I would get the pie in – my pan is pretty deep. This worked well for me!

  25. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit January 28, 2011 at 23:30 #

    So beautiful! I love your flaky filo pastry. 🙂

  26. Paula January 29, 2011 at 09:38 #

    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.

  27. Trix January 29, 2011 at 09:56 #

    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.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 31, 2011 at 15:39 #

      It’s so funny – I think I must have had beginner’s luck because I had no problems at all. The brown is partially from the cinnamon sugar…

  28. Suzie the Foodie January 29, 2011 at 11:00 #

    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!

  29. Krissy January 29, 2011 at 12:21 #

    Great post. Very nice photos. Beautiful finish. We enjoyed this recipe with all the exotic flavors…and has such a lovely presentation.

  30. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction January 29, 2011 at 14:27 #

    This is an interesting dish… Looks beautiful!

  31. Tiffany Rosenberger January 29, 2011 at 15:20 #

    You should be so proud. This looks beautiful!

  32. StephIrey January 29, 2011 at 20:06 #

    You “pie” looks perfect. I’m glad your filo cooperated! perhaps if I hadn’t nuked mine it would have worked out better. 🙂

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 31, 2011 at 15:38 #

      I was lucky I thought to take it out in advance – that’s usually my downfall, not preparing enough in advance!

  33. Jason Phelps January 31, 2011 at 07:08 #

    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!


  34. KA B L O O E Y January 31, 2011 at 11:34 #

    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…

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 31, 2011 at 15:35 #

      Wow Carrie – thanks! I am definitely working hard on my photography – it helps when the product is pretty to start with!

  35. Tami February 1, 2011 at 18:02 #

    Well, I must say Mardi this one looks waaaaay better than the ones I recall from Morocco. Tres jolie!!

  36. cat February 17, 2011 at 23:00 #

    this is one of my favorite moroccan dishes, especially with a little cinnamon and powdered sugar on top . . . mmm . . .

  37. alice October 20, 2011 at 22:51 #

    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)

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite October 30, 2011 at 09:32 #

      Hmm that’s too bad. Not sure what to tell you about why it didn’t work but you know, you can’t win em all, right? Good for you for catching up!


  1. Chicken Bstilla - June 16, 2014

    […] I’m determined to make Dorie’s bstila for comparison but in the meantime check out some other posts here. A few that I liked; My Baking Heart Frozen Plumb French Whisk eat.live.travel.write […]

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