Monday, April 4, 2011

Moroccan Chicken Pie (B'stilla)

This is the best food you will ever eat. I have never made or tasted anything better than this chicken pie. I first had a version of B'stilla at a Moroccan restaurant in Chicago and was obsessed with finding a recipe for it, and one day while stumbling recipe blogs I happened upon Turntable Kitchen's adaptation of a Bon Appetit recipe for B'stilla (also known as Moroccan Chicken Pie). I made it and the result was heavenly. The filling is chicken that has been stewed in a variety of spices, including cinnamon, with golden raisins and onions - the result is a wonderfully rich and complete flavor that is to die for.

Then this tasty filling is sandwiched between several layers of phyllo that have been buttered and sprinkled with a cinnamon/almond/sugar mixture. The blend of savory and sweet is like nothing I have ever tasted. I could, without any trouble, eat an entire pie plate of this in one sitting. And in fact when I made it for my boyfriend and a colleague he had invited over we polished off the whole pan in one sitting.

This recipe is, without a doubt, time consuming; mostly due to the phyllo sheets, which are notoriously difficult to handle. They dry out easily and also tear easily because they are so thin and delicate. Make sure to handle with care and cover the stack of phyllo sheets with a slightly dampened paper towel when you are working with it. One way to cut down on the time factor is to make the filling in advance the day before or you could even freeze the filling for a few weeks.

However, it is well worth the effort to make this recipe and the special someone(s) you make it for will be in your debt for a long time. :)


Moroccan Chicken Pie (From Turntable Kitchen)

1 onion diced
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 tablespoon Flour
2 cups Chicken Broth
3-4 Chicken Breasts chopped into large pieces
1/3 cup Golden Raisins
1 tablespoon Parsley
Olive Oil

Phyllo Layers
1/2 cup Almonds finely crushed
3 tablespoons Powdered Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
10 sheets defrosted Phyllo (get the thin greek stuff not puff pastry)
1/2 cup Butter melted
Saute onions in oil in a large skillet over medium heat until transparent then add in the spices and stir. Sprinkle in the flour and stir in well, then add in the chicken broth. Gently place the chicken pieces into the broth as well as the raisins and reduce heat to medium low - cook for about 20-30 minutes or until chicken is done and shreds easily (broth should also be cooked down).

partway through cooking
Once chicken has cooked down add in the parsley and remove skillet from heat. Once the filling has cooled down shred the chicken with your fingers and mix it all together. Set aside.

filling after chicken has been shredded
In a small dish mix together the almonds, powdered sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

Unroll the phyllo sheets and grab about 10 of them (take more than 10 because they tear easily so you will have to throw out a few) and lay them out on the counter in a stack. Take a 9 inch pie plate and put over the phyllo and cut around the phyllo with a knife or scissors to make the sheets the correct size (they can be a little larger than the pie plate).

Phyllo after it has been cut to size
Once that is done cover the cut sheets of phyllo with a damp cloth so that they don't dry out too much and become hard to handle.

Place one phyllo sheet into the pie plate and brush gently with melted butter then sprinkle on a little of the almond mixture. Repeat this 4 times to get the five layers of phyllo.

Pour the filling over the layers. Put a sheet of phyllo on top of the filling; brush with butter and sprinkle with the almond mixture. do this three more times and then put the final sheet of phyllo down without any butter or almond mixture.

phyllo with butter brushed on top
Cut an X into the center and bake at 375 for 40 minutes (make sure the top phyllo sheet is browned and crispy) then remove from oven. Cool for about 10 minutes then serve.