I am on a serious Dorie Greenspan kick. I have been nothing short of obsessed with her Around My French Table cookbook. Last week I shared my take on her Bubble Top Brioche and not too long ago I blogged about her Chicken Breast Diable. And I can’t forget her Nutella Double Chocolate & Banana Tart. I’m seriously drooling just thinking about it. For those of you who do not yet have this brilliant cookbook, chock full of over 300 delicious recipes just like these, I don’t know what you are waiting for! It is really stunning!
Today I’d like to talk about her Chicken B’stilla recipe. I had never tried this French adaptation of the classic Moroccan dish, but her description of chicken, all spiced up with ginger, cinnamon, coriander and saffron baked in a filo dough pie crust and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar was irresistible! I know I’ve mentioned before how I love every kind of meat pie that I’ve been lucky enough to stumble upon, so I had very high hopes for this dish. And let me say for the record, it did not disappoint!
Making this tasty dish does require a bit of a time investment though. The chicken thighs need to marinate for 1 hour and then cook for 1 hour more. But the good news for all of you time pressed folks (and who isn’t…) you can break the preparation of this dish up over a couple of days if necessary. The chicken can marinate over night. The next day you can cook the marinated chicken and then refrigerate that overnight, so that on the third day you can just work on assembling the pie. And that was where I had a bit of an issue. I’m sure most of you will be able to complete this final step with no problems. However, I gotta say, me and filo dough don’t seem to get along so well. In fact, we have somewhat of a “love-hate” relationship. So far, my love of that flaky filo pastry when I’m eating the finished dish has been strong enough to overcome my feelings of thorough irritation, bordering on true hatred, when I’m trying to work with it! Sheesh! So, if you haven’t surmised it from my above comments, the final construction of the pie is a bit fiddly to say the least. However, your finished Chicken B’stilla will look marvelous and taste even better. Delight your family and friends with the spicy Moroccan dish!
recipe from: Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table
yield: 6 servings
- 8 chicken thighs, skinned
- 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Big pinch of saffron threads
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 8 sheets filo (each 9 x 14″)
- About 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 ounces sliced almonds, toasted and chopped
- Cinnamon sugar, for dusting
Put the chicken pieces, onions, garlic and spices into a Dutch oven or other large casserole and give everything a good stir. Cover and let the chicken marinate for 1 hour at room temperature. (If it is more convenient for you, the chicken can be marinated in the refrigerator for as long as 1 day.)
Add the chicken broth and 1 teaspoon salt to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so that the liquid simmers, cover the pot, and cook for 1 hour, at which point the chicken should be falling-off-the-bone tender.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a bowl. strain the broth, saving both the liquid and the onions. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and cut it into small cubes or shred it.
Clean the Dutch oven and pour the broth back into it, or pour the broth into a medium saucepan. Whisk in the lemon juice, bring to a boil and cook until you have about 1 cup liquid. Reduce the heat to low.
Beat the eggs with the honey and whisking all the while, pour into the broth. Heat, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens enough that your whisk leaves tracks in it, about 5 minutes. Pull the pan from the heat and season the sauce with salt and pepper.
Stir the chicken and reserved onions into the sauce, along with the cilantro and parley. (You can make the chicken and sauce up to 1 day ahead and keep it covered and refrigerated.)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Place the filo sheets between sheets of wax paper and cover with a kitchen towel. Brush a 9″ round cake pan, one that’s 2 ” tall, with melted butter. Brush 1 sheet filo with butter and center it in the pan, so that the excess hangs over the edges. Brush another sheet and press it into the pan so that it’s perpendicular to the first sheet and forms a plus sign. Place a third and then a fourth buttered sheet into the pan so that they form and X; the overhang from all of the sheets should cover the edges of the pan.
Sprinkle half of the almonds over the filo. spoon in the saucy chicken, spreading it evenly across the pan, and top with the rest of the almonds. Fold the overhanging filo over the chicken.
Butter the remaining 4 sheets of filo, stacking them one on top of the other on the work surface. Using a pot lid or the bottom of a tart pan as a guide, cut our a 10 to 11″ circle. Center the circle over the cake pan and gently tuck the edges of the dough into the pan, working your way around it as though you were making a bed. Brush the top of the b’stilla with a little butter and sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar. Place the pan on the baking sheet.
Bake the b’stilla for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for 20 minutes more. If the top seems to be getting too brown at any point, cover it loosely with foil. Transfer the b’stilla to a cooling rack and let rest for about 5 minutes.
Lay a piece of parchment over a cutting board, and have a serving platter at hand. Turn the b’stilla out onto the parchement-lined board and then invert it onto the serving platter, so that it is right side up. Serve the b’stilla now, cutting it into wedges, or serve it warm or at room temperature.