Moroccan Chicken Pie or (B’stilla/Bastilla), is a sweet and savory chicken pie baked in crispy phyllo dough, and dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Hi friends! Today I have a special guest post for you from Mary over at Goodie Godmother. I’m super excited because she makes fantastic recipes. In the spirit of WhitBit’s Kitchen revolving into an international cuisine recipe site, she has brought us a delicious Moroccan recipe in the form of a savory pie. Have you ever eaten Moroccan? It’s delicious. This recipe actually brings back a lot of memories from my childhood. When I was a wee one, my mom would take me to visit my sister, and we’d go to a Moroccan restaurant. There’s all sorts of pictures of me enjoying the belly dancing show. When I was a teen, we’d still go to Moroccan and we would always have a Moroccan chicken pie as one of our entrees. Good times. Cheers, y’all. See ya next week! Without further ado, here’s Mary with her B’stilla, or Moroccan Chicken Pie.
B’stilla, or bastilla, is a Moroccan chicken pie dish very similar to an American chicken pot pie. Both dishes have a flavorful chicken filling surrounded by a flaky, buttery crust, but unlike American chicken pot pie, the b’stilla is almost all chicken, has a dusting of powdered sugar and cinnamon for a delicious sweet/salty flavor, and is wrapped in phyllo dough instead of a traditional pie crust. This bastilla recipe is rather straightforward to assemble, and can be frozen for up to three months, so you can bake when needed!
The first time I tried bastilla was at a Moroccan restaurant with my family. I only remember it so clearly because I had just started taking belly dance lessons for fun at the university and my family volunteered me to get up and dance with the restaurant dancer during audience participation. Being a generally quiet person, this was rather embarrassing for me haha and I recall feeling very self-conscious! I suppose the silver lining is that I remembered much of the meal, including this dish, which I’m now sharing with you, so hooray.
If you’re unfamiliar with Moroccan flavors, this is a great dish to try as an introduction. It’s not spicy, but it is well seasoned with classic spices, and the sweet and savory combination is very satisfying. The best part is, you likely have most of the spices on hand already. If you don’t have saffron, and don’t wish to purchase saffron, go ahead and substitute with ½ tsp paprika and ¼ tsp turmeric. You may also substitute the rose water in the almonds with the zest from an orange or lemon.
Thankfully, flavorful dishes like these allow for some easy substitutions and still result in a delicious final product. If you’re lucky and live near an international market that carries Moroccan food, you may be able to find the round warqa pastry in the freezer section, but if you can’t, go ahead and use phyllo dough like I did. Phyllo is easily found in most major supermarkets. I hope you enjoy this wonderful Moroccan bastilla recipe!
- 3 lbs chicken
- 2 medium sweet onions, diced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger (grated)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp saffron
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 ½ sticks (12 tbsp) butter, divided
- ¼ c olive oil
- ¼ c vegetable oil
- ¼ c fresh cilantro, chopped
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tbsp ras al hanout seasoning
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ lb warqa or phyllo dough
- 2 cups blanched almonds
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp rose water or the zest of 1 orange or lemon
- Additional powdered sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling
- Heat the olive oil and ½ stick butter in a large pan with a lid. Add the onions and cook 2-3 minutes until they start to soften. Add the chicken, ginger, turmeric, saffron, cumin, salt, garlic, and ras al hanout. Cover and cook 20-30 minutes until the chicken is fork tender and shreds easily. Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pan, leaving most of the cooking liquid. Set aside
- Allow the liquid to simmer 5 minutes until reduced by about half while you scramble the eggs and fresh cilantro and parsley in a separate bowl.
- When the liquid has reduced by half, add the egg and herb mixture and scramble the eggs until just barely cooked. Pour the contents of the skillet into the chicken mixture and combine well. Set aside.
- In a clean skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat, then add the almonds and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and allow to cool. Then, in a food processor, pulse together the cooled almonds, powdered sugar, and rose water or zest until the almonds resemble very coarse sand or gravel.
- Melt the remaining 8 tbsp butter and brush an 10” pie dish using a pastry brush. If you don’t have a pie dish, you can assemble a more free-form version on a baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 350 F
- Arrange 3-4 sheets of phyllo in a circle around the pie dish, brush with butter. Repeat the process 4 more times to create the base of the bastilla. Place half the almond mixture in the pie. Add two layers of pastry, brushing each with butter. Add all the chicken and egg mixture. Top with an additional 2 layers of pastry, brushing each with butter. Add the rest of the almond mixture. Finish the pie with 4-5 additional layers of phyllo. Tuck any stray edges under the b’stilla and brush liberally with butter.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until golden.