Chicken B’stilla {FFwD}

This week’s pick for French Fridays with Dorie is actually a Moroccan dish that has been adopted — and adapted — by the French to the point that it fits perfectly in a cookbook like Around My French Table. I was excited by both the ingredients and techniques in this recipe. Savory dishes with spices like cinnamon and ginger are always a treat. And I was looking forward to working with phyllo dough, which was a new ingredient for me.

I began by marinating chicken breasts overnight in a mixture of onions, garlic, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, and saffron. I was intrigued by this part of the recipe, as I had never heard of a marinade made of aromatics and dry spices with no liquid. It worked, though, as the chicken came out nicely spiced and beautifully colored by the saffron.

I put the chicken and marinade in a pot with chicken broth and simmered the whole thing to cook the chicken.

I removed the chicken to a bowl to cool, then strained the broth, reserving the vegetables. I put the broth back in the pan, added lemon juice, and cooked it to reduce the broth to about one cup. Then I added eggs that had been whisked with honey, and boiled the whole thing down to a nice sauce.

I added the reserved onions and the chicken, which had been removed from the bone and chunked up, back to the pan, seasoned with salt, pepper, parsley, and cilantro, and stirred it together to make the filling.

Then it was time to assemble the b’stilla ( be-STEE-ah). I brushed a 9-inch cake pan with melted butter, then layered it with buttered sheets of phyllo.

I sprinkled sliced almonds on the phyllo in the pan.

Then I spooned in the filling, sprinkled on more almonds, and folded the phyllo over the top.

To top the b’stilla, I layered sheet of buttered phyllo, then cut them into an 11-inch circle.

I placed the phyllo on top of the b’stilla, tucked it around the sides, and sprinkled the top with cinnamon-sugar.

I baked the b’stilla in a reducing oven until the top was well-browned and crispy.

To serve, I inverted the b’stilla onto a baking sheet, then quickly turned it right side up onto a serving plate.

I sliced the b’stilla and served it for a satisfying winter supper.

As Dorie notes in the recipe, this dish needs no accompaniment. It’s a complete, filling, and satisfying meal on its own. We really enjoyed the complex flavors and textures of this dish: from the savory chicken to the slightly sweet spices and light-as-air phyllo crust.

My wife tried it and pronounced it her “new favorite dish.” So you can bet this offering from Dorie’s French table will be making regular appearances on mine.

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18 Comments

  1. Alice said,

    October 20, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    They phyllo was a new ingredient for all of us it seems! Looks like you fared well, I got it put together and then wound up not liking the complete dish. It was too bad. This was a catch up recipe for me.

  2. Krissy said,

    January 30, 2011 at 1:15 am

    Nice Process Photos…and your B’stilla is Beautiful!

  3. January 28, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Your filo looks so nice and flaky!

    • gaaarp said,

      January 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      Yes, my filo and I have these things in common.

  4. Mary said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    I agree with your wife…one of my new favorite dishes. Great post and nice process photos.

    • gaaarp said,

      January 29, 2011 at 1:12 pm

      Thanks, Mary. I think I’m going to make this again this week when my parents are in town.

  5. Frieda said,

    January 28, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Yes, yes, do make the Baklava! I have an Armenian recipe from a friend that taught me how to make it. Crunchy walnuts, cinnamon and nutmeg, with a light syrup touched with lemon and lime…yum!

    You can see my post here:
    http://www.friedalovesbread.com/2010/09/making-pahklava-baklava.html

    It was really easy to make. If you buy the phyllo sheets that fit your pan, you won’t have to layer as described in my post.

    By the way, this B’stilla looks mouth watering…I really want to try it!

    • gaaarp said,

      January 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm

      Thanks, Frieda! I found a simple recipe online, but now I won’t have to look for it again.

  6. ComeUndone said,

    January 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Yours looks gorgeous!

    • gaaarp said,

      January 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks! It was an attractive dish. Definietly one to keep in mind for company.

  7. Cakelaw said,

    January 28, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Your pie looks amazing – great job! I can see why it is your wife’s new favourite dish.

    • gaaarp said,

      January 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm

      We both really loved it!

  8. January 28, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Looks delicious!

  9. Kayte said,

    January 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Wow that looks great. You did a really nice job with this recipe. It’s good to be Twitter friends so I can still giggle about the phyllo buying…lol…very cute.

    • gaaarp said,

      January 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm

      Fortunately, it freezes well. But I still have the leftover phyllo from the b’stilla in the refrigerator.

  10. Cher said,

    January 28, 2011 at 7:59 am

    It was my first time working with phyllo as well! Very nice work, yours looks great.
    This dish went over pretty well in my house.

    • gaaarp said,

      January 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm

      Thanks. Glad to hear you liked it, too. Now I have to figure out what to do with the rest of the phyllo. I’m trying to decide if I’m brave enough to try baklava.


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