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This Moroccan chicken pie is also known as bisteeya. The recipe balances savory with sweet with chicken, cinnamon, and phyllo dough.
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup chopped golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 10 sheets (about 17x12 inches) fresh phyllo pastry or frozen, thawed
- 1/2 cup (about) unsalted butter, melted (for brushing)
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Mix in cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and saffron; stir 1 minute. Sprinkle flour over; stir 1 minute. Add broth; bring to simmer. Sprinkle chicken with salt; add to broth mixture. Gently simmer chicken uncovered until cooked through, reducing heat if necessary to prevent boiling, about 20 minutes. Stir in raisins. Set skillet aside until chicken is cool enough to handle.
Transfer chicken to plate. Shred chicken coarsely and return to skillet. If sauce is thin, simmer over medium heat until sauce coats chicken thickly. Stir in cilantro and parsley. Season filling with salt and pepper. Cool filling completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill.
Finely grind almonds, powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and cinnamon in mini processor.
Stack 10 phyllo sheets on work surface. Invert 9-inch glass pie dish onto stack. Cut around dish through phyllo, making ten 10-inch rounds. Remove dish. Cover rounds with plastic wrap and damp kitchen towel.
Brush same pie dish with melted butter. Place 1 phyllo round on work surface; brush with butter and sprinkle with scant 1 tablespoon almonds. Top with another phyllo round, brush with butter and sprinkle with scant 1 tablespoon almonds. Repeat stacking with 3 more phyllo rounds, butter, and almonds. Fit phyllo stack into prepared pie dish. Brush with butter. Spoon filling evenly over. Place 1 phyllo round on work surface. Brush with butter and sprinkle with scant 1 tablespoon almonds. Repeat with 2 phyllo rounds, butter, and almonds. Place stack atop filling; top with remaining phyllo round. Tuck in edges. Drizzle more butter over top. Cut 4 slits through top phyllo stack to allow steam to escape. DO AHEAD Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered until phyllo is golden and filling is heated through, about 40 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Cut into wedges.
Moroccan chicken pie recipe
Credit: TI Media Limited
Nutrition per portion
Take your tastebuds on a trip to North Africa with this Moroccan chicken pie recipe. With a crunchy filo pastry crust and a generous chicken and vegetable filling, it’s perfect with new potatoes and some fresh salad to make a hearty complete meal. If you’ve got any leftover, you can serve it cold in lunchboxes or at your next picnic.
Moroccan Style Chicken Pie
Moroccan-style Chicken Pie
From Bon Appetit March 2009 Issue
Prep time: 15 minutes for filling 10-15 minutes for phyllo
Cooking time: 20 minutes for filling (can be made a day ahead)
final baking: 40 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp turmeric
Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
1 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1½ lb/680g boneless, skinless chicken (they used dark, I used breast meat)
¼ cup raisins, chopped (I didn’t bother with the chopping)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp fresh Italian/flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ cup slivered almonds, ground ( I just bought ground almonds and used a ½ cup or so)
3 tbsp powdered sugar (also known as confectioner’s sugar)
½ tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
10 sheets fresh phyllo pastry (if you’re using frozen, thaw first)
½ cup unsalted butter, melted for brushing
1. Heat oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Sauté until tender and translucent (don’t allow to brown) – about 10 minutes. Add cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and saffron and stir for about 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour and cook for another minute or so.
2. Add the broth, stir and bring to a simmer and then add the chicken. Gently simmer uncovered until the chicken is cooked through, turning once or twice in the process, reducing the heat if necessary to prevent boiling. (about 20 minutes). Stir in the raisins and set the skillet aside until the chicken cools enough to handle.
3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred coarsely. Return to skillet. If the sauce is thin, continue to simmer uncovered over medium heat until the sauce coats the chicken thickly. Stir in the cilantro and parsley. Taste for seasoning and cool completely before putting together the phyllo pie. The chicken can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Phyllo Pie Prep: Can be prepared up to 6 hours ahead and refrigerated before baking
1. Finely grind the almond slivers (or buy them already ground), powdered sugar, ½ tsp coarse salt, and cinnamon in a mini processor (or use a mortar and pestle…don’t have that…then the back of a spoon) and set aside.
2. Stack 10 phyllo sheets on a cutting board. Invert a 9” deep dish pie plate over the stack and cut around the dish through the phyllo sheets, making 10 rounds. Remove dish and cover the sheets with plastic wrap and/or a slightly damp tea towel so they won’t get dried out and break during the layering process.
3. Brush the pie plate with a little melted butter. Place one phyllo round on a work surface, quickly brush with melted butter and sprinkle a spoonful of the almond mixture. Top with another phyllo round and continue the process until you have a stack of 5 sheets.
4. Carefully transfer the stack of prepared phyllo to the pie plate, spread the chicken mixture evenly on top and repeat the phyllo prep for the last five rounds. Place over the chicken filling and press around the edges. Cut four slits on top to allow steam to escape.
Note: I used some of the left over phyllo to make stacks of leaves to decorate the top and I sprinkled some of the almond mixture on the crust as well.
5. Preheat oven to 375ºF/190°C. Place the room temperature pie on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy cleanup if it should bubble over.
6. Bake for about 40 minutes uncovered until the phyllo is golden and the filling heated through.
7. Cool for 15 minutes and cut into wedges.
I served it on a bed of baby spinach, sauteed first with shallots and then drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar. It was such a hit, I should have doubled both recipes.
Makes about 12 4 inch bastilas
- 3 tablespoons olive oil for cooking + 1 tablespoon olive oil to roast the almonds
- 2 kg whole chicken cut in pieces or 2 kg chicken legs and thighs
- 1 kg sliced onions
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- A small pinch saffron
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups chopped fresh parsley, about 1 large bunch
- 1 cup chopped fresh coriander, about half a large bunch
- 400 gr blanched almonds
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Ground cinnamon
- Icing sugar
- 10 eggs, scrambled, plus 1 egg beaten for brushing
- 220 gr unsalted butter, divided
- 500 gr filo pastry
• Preheat oven to 160 C (320 F). In a large casserole, heat the olive oil and add the chicken, onions, turmeric, ginger, saffron and salt and pepper. Leave over medium heat for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the parsley and coriander along with 1 cup water (about 240ml). Bring to the boil, lower the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Leave to simmer gently until the chicken is cooked, about 50 min.
• Meanwhile, prepare the almonds. Place the blanched almonds in a baking tray and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake in the oven until golden, about 18 minutes. Once the almonds are cold enough to handle, transfer them in a food processor or a nut grinder. Add 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 3 tablespoons icing sugar to the roasted almonds and process until coarsely ground. Set aside until ready to assemble.
• When the chicken is cooked, take the casserole off the heat and remove the chicken pieces from the pan (leaving the cooked herbs and onions inside the pan). Add 1 tablespoon honey, 2 tablespoons icing sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the onions and reduce the sauce to caramelize the onions. Leave over medium-low heat with no lid on top until all the liquid evaporates and the onions are golden brown, about 30 to 40 min. Stir occasionally to prevent the onions from sticking to the pan. No liquid should be left in the pan, except oil. Add salt if necessary.
• Once the chicken has cooled down to room temperature, pull out the chicken meat and discard the skin and the bones. Chop the chicken into smaller chunks, (about 1 cm/0.4 inch). Place in the fridge until ready to assemble.
• In a small frying pan, melt 20 gr butter, crack the eggs and scramble them. Set aside until ready to assemble. Make sure that the scrambled eggs are not under cooked and runny because liquid can affect the pastry during the assembling process.
Now you can start assembling. You can prepare the filling up to two days in advance.
• Preheat oven to 200 C (390 F).
• Unroll the filo pastry sheets, keeping them under a damp towel to prevent them from drying out. Use a small round shallow dish (of about 10 cm (4 inch) large) and with a sharp knife, cut the pastry sheets according to the size of your dish. Cut the filo sheets into squares large enough to fit the dish and to cover the top of the pie. You will need two sheets for each pie. Check the notes below regarding the size of the filo sheets.
• Heat the remaining butter until melted. Place a filo sheet on a work surface, brush it with melted butter and top it with another filo sheet that you also brush with butter. Gently place the two layers of filo sheet in the shallow dish making sure that the pastry sheet touches the inner edges of the dish.
• Inside the dish, place in this order: a layer of chicken chunks (about 1 cm/0.4 inch), a layer of caramelized onions (less than 0.5 cm/0.2 inch), a layer of scrambled eggs (about 1 cm/0.4 inch) and finally, a layer of coarse almonds (less than 0.5 cm/0.2 inch). Fold the overlapping filo pastry in over the top to cover the pie. Brush lightly with melted butter. Carefully, flip the bastila and remove it from the dish and place in a greased baking tray.
• Brush the pies with the beaten egg and bake in the oven until golden brown, about 25 min. Serve hot and sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon.
• I used a 2.5 cm (1 inch) deep and 10 cm (4 inch) large round dish and I cut the filo pastry in squared sheets of 23cm (9 inch). Make sure you have enough pastry sheets before assembling, depending on the brand, the size of the pastry sheets varies.
• If you make all the preparation on the same day you can keep the assembled bastilas for up to two days in the fridge. You can also keep them in the freezer for up to two months. In that case, keep the bastila frozen until ready to bake, note that it will take longer to cook.
• Variation: Large bastila. Use the same quantities and follow the same method to prepare the filling. For the assembling, use a large round shallow tin (about 13 inch/33cm large and about 3 inch/7 cm deep). Inside the tin, arrange 4 large filo sheets (brushed with butter) in such a way that the bottom of the tin is covered and there is enough pastry hanging over the sides to cover the top of the pie (you might have to use more sheets depending on the size of your filo pastry). For the filling, follow the same instruction, except that you will use all the quantities for each layer. Fold the overlapping leaves in over the top of the pie. Brush with butter and place 2 additional large filo buttered sheets over the pie and neatly tuck in the corners of the sheets under the pie. Egg wash and bake the pie until the top is golden brown, about 35 to 40 min.
• Traditionally, bastila was made with pigeon, nowadays Moroccans often use chicken. You can use either of them. Moroccans also use warka dough, instead of filo pastry.
Moroccan spiced pie
Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ conventional 200C/gas 6. Dry fry the seeds briefly in a small pan over a medium heat until toasty – don’t let them burn. Grind coarsely using a pestle and mortar (or a bowl and the end of a rolling pin), then mix in the paprika, cinnamon, 1⁄2 tsp salt and 4 tbsp oil. Tip the squash into a roasting tin, pour over the spiced oil and toss. Roast for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan, add the shallots and cook, stirring, until they start to brown. Stir in the ginger and 100g/4oz each almonds and pistachios.When brown, toss in the cranberries, 2 tbsp honey, and the spinach so it wilts. Take off the heat and stir into the squash, when it comes out of the oven. Set aside.
In a food processor, whizz the chickpeas with the garlic, cumin, remaining oil, lemon juice, 2 tbsp water and salt and pepper to make houmous. Stir in the coriander.
Melt the butter in a small pan. Put a loose-bottomed 28cm quiche tin on a baking sheet and brush with some butter. Keeping the filo covered with a damp cloth so it doesn’t dry out, lay one sheet over half of the tin so that it hangs over the edge by about 10cm. Lay another sheet on the other side, so it overlaps the first in the centre and hangs over the opposite edge. Brush with butter. Lay two more filo sheets in the opposite direction in the same way and brush with more butter.
Build up two more layers in this way, so you use a total of eight sheets of filo. Pile half the squash mixture in the centre of the pastry. Spread over the houmous and then the rest of the squash mixture.One at a time, bring the edge of each filo sheet up to the centre to cover the filling, creating voluptuous folds as you go. Brush carefully with more butter. (If making a day ahead, cover now with cling film and chill. To reheat, remove the pie from the fridge, heat the oven, then bake for 35-40 minutes.)
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until crisp and golden. Just before the pie is ready, reheat any remaining butter in the pan, tip in the rest of the nuts and fry until golden. Spoon in the 4 remaining tbsps of honey and, when it melts, take off the heat and pour over the pie. Serve with Harissa yogurt sauce (mix the yogurt and milk together to make a thin sauce, stir in the herbs and season. Swirl in harissa to taste) and lemon wedges.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the chicken and fry it skin-side down, until crisped up and brown. Turn the thighs over and cook for a couple more minutes, then remove them from the pan. Add the butter to the pan and when it has melted, add the onions and fry them gently until soft. Add the garlic and spices and fry for a couple more minutes.
Put the chicken back in the pan and pour in the stock or 500ml of water. Season, then cover the pan and simmer for about half an hour or until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken and set it aside. When it is cool enough to handle, finely chop the meat – it’s up to you whether you keep the skin or not. Put the liquid back over the heat and reduce it by half.
Add the eggs to the cooking liquid and continue to cook over a low heat until you have a mixture that resembles loose scrambled eggs. Add the ground nuts and stir, then add the dates, orange blossom water, zest and finally, the chicken. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. To assemble the pie, you need a large ovenproof dish about 28cm in diameter.
Take a sheet of filo pastry and brush it with melted butter. Drape it over the dish, making sure it is gently pushed into the corners without any tearing. Repeat with another sheet of filo, this time placing it at a right angle to the first. Repeat with a further 2 sheets of filo, this time placing them on the diagonal.
Spread the filling over the pastry. Fold over the overhanging pieces of filo in reverse order – they should just about cover the filling. Take the remaining 2 pieces of filo and cut them to fit the dish. Brush them with butter, then cover the pie, tucking under any corners. Bake the pie in the oven for about 30 minutes until the pastry is a crisp, golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before dusting it with the icing sugar and cinnamon.
Place a large frying pan over medium heat with 1 tbsp of oil. Lightly season the chicken and cook, skin side down, for about 5 mins on one side, until golden. Turn over, then tip the onion into the pan. Cook for another 5 mins until the onion is soft and chicken golden all over.
Meanwhile, halve the lemon, then cut 1 half into quarters. Finely chop 1 quarter (leaving the skin on) and tip into a pestle and mortar or small blender. Pound together with remaining oil, garlic, ginger and chermoula to make a paste. Dollop into the frying pan and cook 1 min more until you can smell the spices. Pour over the chicken or vegetable stock and honey, then bring to the boil.
Turn down the heat, cover and leave to cook 20-30 mins until chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened and become glossy (you may need to uncover the pan for the fi nal 5 mins of cooking). Stir through the olives and squeeze over the juice of half the lemon. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with couscous or bread.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups sliced onions
- 12 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes, hand-crushed and juice reserved
- 2 cups sliced red bell peppers
- ½ cup white wine
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- 1 (4.5 pound) whole chicken, separated and breasts split and skinned
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Place eggplant in a large bowl. Drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil over eggplant and toss to coat. Spread eggplant on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is softened and browned, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, wide pot over medium-high heat cook and stir onions and garlic until onions are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir paprika, kosher salt, coriander, fennel seeds, black pepper, cumin, ginger, and turmeric into onion mixture cook and stir for 1 minute.
Mix tomatoes, half of the reserved tomato juice, red bell peppers, white wine, and lemon juice into onion mixture bring to a boil. Reserve the remaining tomato juice to thin the stew if needed.
Arrange chicken in a single layer in the pot cover with some of the tomato mixture. Return stew to a boil reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Flip chicken, cover, and simmer until no longer pink in the center, about 20 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone, should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
Stir eggplant and marjoram into stew simmer uncovered until heated through, about 10 minutes.
For the spice paste, crush the garlic cloves and sea salt with a pestle in a mortar. Add the smoked paprika, turmeric and cumin seeds and grind to a paste. Add just enough olive or groundnut oil to make the paste runny enough to pour, but thick enough to coat the chicken.
For the casserole, place the chicken thighs into a bowl, pour the spice paste over them and toss well to coat all of the meat. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for as long as time allows, overnight if possible.
Heat the olive oil in a large shallow pan, then cook the onions until softened. Add the chicken thighs and cook until coloured lightly on both sides. Add the lemon slices and pour in enough water to come halfway up the chicken pieces. Stir in the saffron, then season well, cover with a lid and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Add the olives and fresh coriander and serve.
To freeze: transfer to a freezerproof container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly at room temperature, or in the fridge for 24 hours, then reheat until piping hot.
Moroccan-style Chicken Phyllo Rolls with Spiced Tomato Sauce Recipe
These rolls are based loosely on b'stilla — a phyllo-crusted "pie" of shredded chicken that's been simmered with Moroccan spices and then mixed with egg and nuts. The egg lends the filling an almost custardlike richness. Read more It's not as intimidating to make these as it might appear - so don't be afraid of them. The Moroccan-Style dipping sauce would also be delicious on grilled chicken or fish. Enjoy. From Gourmet. See less
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- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Scant teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 1/4 lb chicken thighs (with skin and bones)
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 8 (17- by 12-inch) phyllo sheets, thawed if frozen
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
- 1 small onion, finely chopped shopping list
- 1 tablespoon olive oilshopping list
- Scant teaspoon saltshopping list
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cuminshopping list
- 1/2 teaspoon ground gingershopping list
- 1/2 teaspoon turmericshopping list
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppershopping list
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriandershopping list
- 1 1/4 lb chicken thighs (with skin and bones) shopping list
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken brothshopping list
- 1/2 cup watershopping list
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stickshopping list
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped shopping list
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten shopping list
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted shopping list
- 8 (17- by 12-inch) phyllo sheets, thawed if frozen shopping list
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamonshopping list
- 2 teaspoons brown mustard seedsshopping list
How to make it
- Make Filling:
- Cook onion in oil along with salt, cumin, ginger, turmeric, pepper, and coriander in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add chicken, broth, water, and cinnamon stick and simmer, covered, turning chicken over once, until meat is very tender, about 45 minutes total. Transfer chicken with tongs to a bowl, reserving cooking liquid.
- When cool enough to handle, shred chicken, discarding skin and bones, and transfer to a large bowl.
- Transfer cooking liquid to a 2-cup glass measure (do not clean saucepan) and let stand 1 minute, then skim off fat and discard cinnamon stick.
- Return liquid to saucepan and simmer over moderately high heat, uncovered, until reduced to about 1/4 cup (liquid will look like a glaze in bottom of pan), about 8 minutes, then stir into shredded chicken along with almonds.
- Reserve 2 tablespoons beaten egg in a cup for egg wash. Lightly season remaining egg with salt and pepper, then cook in 1/2 tablespoon butter in an 8- to 10-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until just set but still slightly soft. Stir scrambled egg into filling.
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This looks really good. My husband lived in Morocco for 3 years when he was in high school. Maybe the flavors would bring back memories of youth!:)
It looks like a long list of ingredients but I have all of the spices already so there wouldn't be too much to buy to make this. Thanks for the post.
This looks so flavorful and delicious! Thanks for sharing!
It sounds very very delicious! If you have another recipe like this one, I come immediately in your kitchen!!
I love this one. Sounds wonderful Vicky. as usual, your recipe is a winner!