B’stilla is a rather unusual Moroccan pie which combines sweet and salty flavours. Encased in crisp layers of crÃªpe-like dough, the savory slow-cooked filling is traditionally made from pigeon or capon, but chicken is a more likely contemporary option.
1 tbsp olive oil
1kg chicken thigh fillets, diced
2 red onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
½ tsp saffron threads
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
1½ cups chicken stock
½ cup almond meal (ground almonds)
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
60g butter, melted and cooled
8 sheets filo pastry
2 tsp icing sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Heat 2 tsp oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add a third of the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining chicken.
2 Heat remaining oil in frying pan. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft. Add garlic, chilli, saffron, cumin, ginger and cinnamon. Stir and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add chicken stock and bring to the boil. Return chicken to frying pan, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until almost all liquid has evaporated. Allow to cool.
3 Put almond meal in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring often, until light golden. Transfer to a bowl. Add egg, coriander and parsley to chicken mixture. Stir until well combined.
4 Preheat oven to 200C. Brush a 20cm cake pan with butter. Put 1 sheet of filo on a flat surface, brush with butter and sprinkle with 1 tbsp toasted almond meal. Top with another sheet of filo. Repeat 2 times, forming 4 layers. Line prepared cake pan with filo sheets, allowing edges to overhang. Repeat filo layering with remaining sheets of filo, butter and toasted almond meal. Put filo sheets crossways over first layer of filo. Spoon cold chicken mixture into filo shell. Fold overlapping filo over, enclosing filling. Brush with remaining butter.
5 Put cake pan on an oven tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Turn pie onto prepared tray and brush with butter. Bake for a further 15–20 minutes or until golden, crisp and cooked through. Combine icing sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle over b’stilla and serve.