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