Friday, January 28, 2011

FFwD - Chicken B'stilla



I love Moroccan food - the fruit and meat combinations, the spices, the textures, the colours, the aroma and the flavours - they are all my idea of heaven. Accordingly, when the French Fridays with Dorie pick for this week was a Moroccan inspired dish, I was excited.



However, I won't say that I was immediately excited, because I didn't actually know what chicken b'stilla (pronounced bee-stee-ya) was. I had to do some research to work out the history of this dish. Apparently, the Moroccans used to bake pigeon into the b'stilla; I think it would be pretty hard for me to come by pigeon, so I am relieved that Dorie modified this dish.



The b'stilla consists of marinated chicken, steeped in a spiced broth, which broth is subsequently thickened and used as a sauce for the chicken inside the filo pastry crust of the pie. The flavours of the pie are a mixture of sweet and savoury, similar to the fruit and meat combinations of Moroccan tagines and jewelled cous cous. The saucy chicken is baked inside a filo pastry crust, and you end up with a heavenly, tasty, saucy pie.



To fill in the process blanks, here are some step by step photos of the pie making process. First up, you take skinless chicken thighs (known here as "Lovely Legs" which always raises some eyebrows when you ask the deli man if he has them), and marinate them for an hour or so with chopped onion and garlic, and spices:



The marinated chicken is then simmered in chicken broth for an hour or so:



The chicken is then removed from the broth and shredded. Meanwhile, the broth is thickened with eggs and honey:



The chicken is then added back to the sauce, along with fresh coriander:

For the pie "nest", you line a casserole dish with sheets of buttered filo, which is then covered with toasted flaked almonds:

The saucy chicken is then placed inside the filo nest and covered with more flaked almonds, before the sides of the filo are folded over the top of the filling:


You then put a filo "lid" on the pie, which is tucked in like blankets on abed, and sprinkle the buttered top with cinnamon sugar:


And after baking for another 40 minutes or so, you end up with a beautiful aromatic pie, a slice of which is featured at the top of this post.

As a side dish to serve with this pie, I think that jewelled cous cous would be perfect.

I loved this dish, and would definitely make it again.

To see what everyone else thought of the chicken b'stilla, visit the LYL section for this week at the FFwD site.

23 comments:

yummychunklet said...

I'm impressed! Your sauce really thickened up! Mine ended up thickening only a little, but it was still tasty. And, I had a nice chuckle when I read the "lovely legs" comment!

Kayte said...

We really liked this one, too...like you, the spicing was just wonderful on this. Yours looks great...that filo dough gave me fits, I need to learn how to do that better for sure.

Elaine said...

How funny about the 'Lovely Legs!" I am also relieved that Dorie subbed with chicken for the pigeon. Your b'stilla came out beautifully! So nice and flakey and delicately browned.

Sarah @ For the Love of Food said...

I first ate this overlooking the Alhambra (palace) in Granada, a very Moroccan influenced part of Spain - thanks for the reminder of that wonderful trip!. I've never made it though, always thinking it was pretty fiddly. This looks like a gorgeous version and great result.

The Blonde Duck said...

I've never tried Moroccan food!

Cher said...

Very nice. The "lovely legs" made me giggle - because they are certainly anything but lovely! Oooh, using pigeon would have sent me over the edge, so I am glad it was chicken!

Audrey said...

I loved this, too, and I agree about the couscous! :) Does 'jeweled' mean mixing it with dried fruit? That's one of my favorite things to do with it.

Mary said...

Yum! I always buy chicken thighs, so I wish we had such a great name for them here. I could have a lot of fun with that! I am finally jumping back on the FFWD and TWD train for next week.
:)

DessertByCandy said...

If you love fruit in savoury dishes, I highly recommend that you add dried apricots to the filling. It was most delicious!

gaaarp said...

I loved this dish, too. But I would totally have made it with pigeon if the recipe had called for it (and if I could find it).

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

This looks like such a wonderful pie! I love the recipe. And I also like your idea about the couscous.

Betsy said...

Lovely legs -- Delightful! Your pie looks delicious. I want to hear more about the jewels in the couscous. Dried fruit? Pomegranate seeds?

Flourchild said...

It looks great, glad you loved it!!

scrambledhenfruit said...

Never heard them called lovely legs, but I like it! Yours looks nice and flaky. I thought this was delicious!

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

Love the way u chicken turned and ur B'stilla looks so good!
I loveee Moroccan food too now":-)

Karen said...

Looks fantastic! I love that you took the time to research the dish before you made it. :)

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Scrumptious looking dish!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I really like this dish :) I had it at a Spanish/Moorish place in Manly and it was so unusual!

Kris' Kitchen said...

very nice post. love your process photos. this dish was unusual for my family, but we loved it and will make it again.

Sis. Boom. said...

I couldn't stop from eating the filling right out of the pot on this one! Yum.

bellini valli said...

Up until now I did not know exactly what this dish was either. My special love is Middle Eastern foods.

Ivy said...

Quite an unusual dish combining savory and sweet. It is cruel to eat pigeons but they do eat them in many parts of the world but I don't think I would eat them either.

jillbert said...

That's funny about the lovely legs! I have to be in the right mood to enjoy a sweet & savory dish, but this one sounds delicious and looks lovely.