French Fridays with Dorie: Chicken B’stilla

28 Jan

Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan’s French Cooking book, has shown me that the French takes food from other cultures and makes them their own too. So far we had made Vietnamese noodle soup, gnocchi French-style, and now B’stilla (or Pastilla), a Moroccan pie.

Chicken B’stilla is like a chicken pie but instead of using pie pastry to cover the filling, we use flaky phyllo pastry. The chicken filling is spiced, sweet and savoury. In this version, the chicken is marinated in onions, garlic, ground ginger, ground coriander, ground cinnamon and saffron before simmering in chicken broth till it’s tender. A thick sauce is made with the strained broth and eggs, flavoured with lemon and honey. The chicken is then shredded and mixed with the sauce. I let my chicken filling sit overnight in the refrigerator because I didn’t have enough time to complete the dish that day. I wanted lots of time to work with the phyllo pastry as I’ve heard how tricky it can get and it’s also my first time with it!

I bought Irresistibles phyllo pastry, which comes in long, rectangular sheets, thawed them in the refrigerator for more than 24 hours and trimmed them to the 9 x 14 inches required for this recipe. I wanted to skimp on the parchment paper so I didn’t separate the phyllo pastry but left them stacked as they are. They separate and lifted off easily after brushing with butter and only tore because I brushed too hard. Laying 4 sheets down on the pan and folding them over the filling was manageable but I couldn’t tucked the top sheets in neatly. They ended up pressed down but with the ends sticking up. I baked the b’stilla as directed and the pastry turned golden brown but cracked all over! Could anyone tell me why that happened? Turning the b’stilla out onto the cutting board before inverting it made it a little worse.

Putting the cracked pastry aside, the dish was a hit! I love the sweet and savoury filling as did my husband. Our children liked it too but they both seem to love the thin, flaky pastry more! I served it for dinner with a last-minute put together side of frozen peas and corn cooked with onion, chicken broth and a little cream. I will make this again seeing I have half a box of phyllo pastry leftover and the filling is delicious. Hope the pastry will turn out better next time. The only thing I don’t like about making this is the lingering sweet smell of simmered onions, cinnamon and saffron. By the second day I had to open the windows even though it’s below freezing outside to air the house!

Click here to look at the b’stilla other French Fridays with Dorie members made.


Posted by on January 28, 2011 in Cooking, Food, French Fridays with Dorie


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13 responses to “French Fridays with Dorie: Chicken B’stilla

  1. yummychunklet

    January 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I like your last minute addition of peas. It added a nice touch of bright green! I’m not sure about the cracked phyllo dough, as this was my first encounter with the stuff myself. Your dish still turned out pretty great!

    • Ker-Yng

      January 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      Thanks! Maybe I’ll just google it and see what I’ll find.

  2. Cher

    January 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Really cute plates. & YC is right, the green of the peas add a nice splash of color!
    That flip was nervewracking, wasn’t it?

    • Ker-Yng

      January 29, 2011 at 12:34 am

      I suppose it would be nervewracking if I had a perfect crust and fear ruining it which wasn’t the case for me! 😉

  3. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit

    January 28, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Your crust is so pretty and flaky! Mine turned out flat- I’ll have to use your technique next time. We did love this one though!

    • Ker-Yng

      January 29, 2011 at 12:30 am

      What technique? Wasn’t it supposed to be flat or at least in one piece? LOL!

  4. kitchen flavours

    January 29, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Looks scrumptious! Have not tried with phyllo dough before, though I have one in the freezer for months! Gosh, got to check on the expiry date! The chicken sounds really good with all the spices. Fancy cooking a Moroccan dish in a French Cookbook, I always wondered about this Dorie’s book, why does she named it AMFT! I have yet to take a look at this book!

    • Ker-Yng

      January 29, 2011 at 9:03 am

      Thanks. 🙂 Make sure the phyllo pastry is really thawed before using! AMFT is French home cooking, recipes DG collected from her travels and living in France. lets you ‘look inside’ the book and so many recipes are shown including the spicy cocktail nuts and the paris mushroom soup!

  5. Elaine

    January 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I think I brushed too hard because mine tore as well, but it didn’t seem to matter in the end. Yours looks beautiful.

    • Ker-Yng

      January 29, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Elaine, thanks and nice of you to come by!

  6. Candy

    January 31, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Loved your post and blog in general! FFwD is an interesting experience! Happy that you’re having fun with it. Your b’stilla looks great. It’s great that you all enjoyed it!

    • Ker-Yng

      February 2, 2011 at 1:04 am

      Thanks, Candy! FFwD is a fun ride and I do look forward to each month’s recipes!

  7. Teresa

    February 5, 2011 at 2:37 am

    In your photos, it looks lovely. I’d like to try this with phyllo pastry some time. I made mine with gluten-free puff pastry instead. The aroma drove us crazy, too, but in a good way!


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