Rich, sublimely tasty and simple to prepare, my B’stilla, or Moroccan chicken pie, recipe never fails to delight.
B’stilla – or bisteeya or lots of other spellings – is a classic Moroccan chicken pie, traditionally made with pigeon or squab, but also with chicken, combining both sweet and savoury elements. It is also something that I have been dying to try ever since I first saw a recipe for it. I thought that I had hit pay-dirt when dining at a new Moroccan restaurant in town just after Christmas, only to be told that it had been so popular they had run out. I sulked for a while, then had a glass of mint tea and bravely soldiered on through the rest of a stunning meal, resigned to the inevitability of cooking it myself.
This recipe for my Moroccan chicken pie is the adapted version that I finally placed with a flourish (and some baked carrots) on the dinner table last night. It’s, rich, sublimely tasty and not difficult. If required, it can be made in two steps, making it great for a feasting table as it can be prepared in part the day before. Eggs are used to thicken the sauce, so take care that the mixture is not too hot when adding them or you may end up with scrambled eggs. Some may prefer a little more cayenne pepper, but I am a coward at heart.
One doesn’t like to sound immodest, but this pie is to die for. It made me very happy.
Edited December 1, 2019 – nine years later and this Moroccan chicken pie is still a favourite. My recipe never fails to perform faultlessly, and never, ever fails to delight. I made it again last night, as part of a Moroccan feast based largely on recipes from Paula Wolfert‘s very excellent cookbook, ‘The Food of Morocco’. Seriously – make this for guests. They’ll love you forever.
B'Stilla - Moroccan Chicken Pie
- 125 gms Butter NOT margarine
- 700 gms chicken thighs, boneless
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or dried chilli
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 250 mls chicken stock
- 1 pinch saffron threads, soaked in the stock
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
- 1 bunch coriander
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 80 gms toasted almonds, chopped
- 2 Tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pkt filo pastry
- Melt 1/2 butter in an oven-proof dish and brown chicken, set aside. Add onions and cook gently until golden. Add garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes, add spice and stir, add stock and saffron. Return chicken, turn to coat, cover and bake in oven 160C for 40 minutes.(If required, you can refrigerate after cooking at this stage, and continue prep later.)
- Remove and discard cinnamon stick, remove chicken, chop up and set aside.
- Add lemon juice and herbs to remaining sauce, reduce until thick. Turn heat to very low, add eggs, stir until thickened. Remove from heat and add chicken, taste and season as required.
- Mix almonds with icing sugar and cinnamon.
- Grease a shallow pie dish with butter and layer 6 sheets of filo pastry in dish, brushing each with melted butter and rotating the sheets with the edges hanging over the dish. Fill with the chicken mix, fold 3 of the sheets over the pie, brush with butter and sprinkle generously with almond mixture. Fold remaining sheets over and tuck around the dish. Brush again with melted butter. I scrunched some extra sheets of buttered filo onto the top to make it look pretty.
- Bake at 180C 45 minutes, or until golden. Sprinkle with any extra almond mixture.