FFWD – Chicken B’stilla

Slow is underrated, especially when it comes to food. I don’t just mean this kind of slow, though that’s definitely important. I’m talking about taking time with a dish, letting flavours meld and working through the steps to make something truly delicious. We’re so inundated with recipes for 30 minute, 15 minute and even 10 minute meals, that it’s hard to remember that setting aside time for cooking can have enormous rewards. Obviously, in our culture, few of us have the ability to put long hours into every dish that we make, so it’s important that when you do, the recipe is worth it. Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Chicken B’stilla is a wonderful example of what happens when you put time into making your food.

In this French take on a traditional Moroccan dish, chicken is marinated in spices, then simmered in broth until very tender. The broth is cooked down into a rich sauce, made even richer by adding eggs and honey. Finally, everything is combined, put into a phyllo pastry crust and baked. Since my partner would be eating this with me, I substituted gluten-free rough puff pastry for the phyllo, using Gluten-Free Girl’s recipe (which you can find here). I’d researched gluten-free phyllo pastry, but didn’t find a recipe I trusted. I need to do a little more exploration and some test batches, I suppose. I recommend this puff pastry recipe wholeheartedly – it comes together like magic, though you’ll likely have sore biceps the next day.

Even though you must take a little time to make this dish, none of the steps are particularly difficult. The most difficult part of this recipe is resisting the aroma of the food at the various stages of cooking. While the shredded chicken was cooling, my dog sat in front of the stove, hoping for a handout. My partner repeatedly came in asking if he could have some. I was busy with the sauce, but adding the honey and eggs just added to the wonderful smell. Anticipation ran high.

Once the B’stilla was assembled and baked, it was difficult to wait for it to cool enough to cut. It was worth the work and the wait. Kevin rarely enjoys pie, savoury or sweet, but even before we were finished our first serving, he asked when I would be making it again. I’ll be making this often for Kevin, but I think I’ll also go over to my parents’ place and make the conventional phyllo version for them, too. Not that I’m looking for excuses to make this again…

And, speaking of slow, this was actually the January 28th recipe for French Fridays with Dorie. Instead of writing this post on Friday as I’d planned, I went to a hockey game with my mother instead. I’ve finally found time to catch up today.

You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Chicken B’stilla

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15 thoughts on “FFWD – Chicken B’stilla

  1. Yeah! You got it!! This one is def worth the wait!!! I’d rather have this one twice than ANY kind of ‘tortilla’, that is for sure. (P.S. You will love the lasagna I posted and sooo easy! Let me know how it goes!)
    Trevor. Sis. Boom.

  2. I would have skipped the recipe over a hockey game too! Glad you were able to work it in though! (And that you were able to find a phyllo pastry that worked for your needs)

  3. So great that you chose the hockey game with your mom and saved this dish for later. It looks super and I’m glad you were able to find a gluten-free puff pastry recipe!

  4. Looks great! I love how you started your post about “slow” cooking. This one takes time but it’s definitely worth it.

  5. Teresa–I’m going to keep that gluten-free puff pastry in mind as we have a friend who was recently diagnosed with an allergy to gluten. Thanks! Also, I agree that we are soe completely sold a song and dance about quick meals–not that they don’t have their place–but it is such an experience to assemble a dish over eight hours, or even across multiple days. It ends up being a labor of love, but it is so worth it!

  6. The b’stilla looks delish! I agree on the the whole “fast cooking” recipes, really, what can one make for dinner in ten minutes, even fifteen? I need an hour, minimally!

  7. I love slow recipes like this where you get very invested in the meal. It looks like the pastry you used (besides being the gluten-free you needed it to be) might have been easier to work with than the fussiness of the phyllo sheets. I loved the filling on this one, so different. Your pie looks great.

  8. @Cher – it was a good tradeoff!
    @Elaine – thanks! There are so many good resources now for making gluten-free versions of baked goods. I love that so many bloggers are posting good recipes, whether they themselves need to eat gluten-free or not.
    @Jenn – I am already thinking about making it again!
    @Katiebe – it’s a good recipe, but also one that takes time, so plan ahead. And I agree, it really is satisfying to eat something that you’ve been working on for a day (or two).
    @Vegan Thyme – me, too – many of those “quick” recipes just don’t include prep time for things like vegetables, or rely on pre-packaged foods.
    @Ker-Yng – Thanks! I think working with the puff pastry was a little easier than the phyllo.
    @Betsy – Thanks! The only thing you have to watch out for with the puff pastry is making sure it doesn’t get too warm. It’s mostly butter held together with a little flour. As long as you work quickly, though, it’s pretty simple.

  9. Wow, surprised you liked it so much! I thought that the almonds overwhelmed the dish… I just made this this week, you can check out my post on it. The chicken was SO good though. Patella and I had little nibbles while it was cooking :)

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