B’Stilla is a Moroccan chicken pie that features both savory and slightly sweet flavors that mix surprisingly well together. This meat pie is made with delicate layers of flaky, buttered phyllo pastry and filled in three tiers with heartily spiced chicken. (Although, traditionally, this dish would be made with squab or pigeon.) Make your own phyllo pastry dough using our easy to follow recipe.
Perfectly balanced, the spices dance aromatically in your mouth with every bite. We can see why B’Stilla is traditionally served for special occasions. We can also see how hungry, eager faces sitting around a table, awaiting a plate full of savory-sweet meat pie, could become just enough of a special occasion to justify making and serving this delicious dish…anytime.
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Gently break the skin away from the flesh and use your fingers to rub ras el hanout on the chicken, under the skin. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the skin of the chicken and set aside.
Make your own confectioner’s sugar: in a blender or food processor, combine the palm sugar and arrowroot powder. Pulse until the mixture forms a very fine powder. Use in place of confectioner’s sugar for B’Stilla
Heat a skillet to medium-high. Toast the almonds, shaking the pan often, for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from heat and let cool.
Transfer the almonds into the food processor. Add the palm sugar and cinnamon, and pulse until the almonds are finely ground. Set aside for later.
Into a large saucepan add the chicken and stock. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low.
Simmer until the chicken is cooked through (about 45 minutes). Remove chicken to a heatproof platter or working surface to cool, keeping the liquids and any solids in the pot.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, use your fingers to shred the chicken, discarding bones and skin.
Continue cooking the liquids and solids in your chicken pot, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces to about 1 cup in volume. Turn off heat and whisk in the eggs. Transfer the egg sauce into a heatproof bowl and set aside for later.
Into a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons hot water. Use your fingers to crush the saffron threads over a bowl and mix with hot water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Peel and dice the onion.
Peel and mince the garlic and ginger.
Rinse and finely chop the cilantro and parsley.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high. Add the onions and sauté until soft and transparent (about 5 – 7 minutes). Add the garlic and ginger and sauté another 1 minute, or until fragrant.
Stir in the following:
red chile pepper (or ground Thai chili)
Sauté for another 1 -2 minutes and then remove from heat and add the following:
Stir the filling to combine and then set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter and set next to your work surface for brushing.
Lightly grease a 9 inch baking pan with butter.
Lay 1 phyllo sheet flat and brush with butter. Carefully pick up the phyllo sheet and lay it in the pan, allowing its edges to hang over. Butter a second phyllo sheet and lay on top of the first sheet in the pan. Scoop 1/3 of the filling into the pan and spread evenly over the surface of your phyllo. Sprinkle 1/3 of the almond cinnamon sugar mixture over top of the filling.
Repeat layering process until you have three layers of filling with two buttered phyllo sheets between each layer. Pull the edges of your phyllo sheets up over the top to cover the filling, gently smoothing the edges down.
Brush the last two phyllo sheets with butter and lay over top of the pie. Gently tuck the edges down into the pan around the sides of the pie.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown. Remove from heat. Lightly brush the top once more with butter and sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Optionally, garnish with a few decorative almonds.
Cut with a serrated knife and serve hot.