Bstila (Chicken Almond Pie)

Bstila (Chicken Almond Pie)

Bstila is generally served at the beginning of very special Moroccan meals.  It is a wonderful combination of sweet and savory flavors inside flaky layers of fillo. This is my grandmother’s recipe and one of my favorite childhood memories, as I always got the decorate the top.

Bstila (Chicken Nut Pie)
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Moroccan
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • ½ pound butter
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 large chicken
  • ½ pound onions, chopped
  • 2 parsley sprigs
  • ½ teaspoon each of coriander, ginger, saffron, chili powder
  • ¾ pound blanched almonds, toasted, coarsely ground
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 14 fill leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt, pepper
Instructions
  1. The filling: In a large heavy pot, place 2 cups of water, half the butter, the onions, the parsley, coriander, ginger, saffron, chili, salt, and pepper. In this broth, cook the chicken, gizzards and liver included. When the meat is tender enough that it comes off the bones, set aside and cool. Bone all the meat. Keep half of the juice in the pan, the other half, reduce until thick.
  2. In the first unreduced half of the sauce, pour 10 beaten eggs and cook like scrambled eggs. All the different mixtures are now ready for the assembly of the bstila.
  3. The assembly: You should have around you: the fill leaves, the boned squabs, the scrambled eggs, the reduced sauce, the sugar, the cinnamon, the almonds, and the other half of the butter, melted.
  4. Butter the bottom of a large (10-inch) cast iron skillet. Spread 5 unbaked fillo leaves, each leaf brushed with melted butter into the pan (sides hanging over).
  5. Pour the scrambled eggs into the skillet over the fillo leaves. Over the eggs spread 2 baked fillo leaves (baked in a 400 degree oven for 40 seconds), brushed also with the butter; over the baked leaves, spread the chicken and drizzle with the reduced sauce; 2 more baked leaves brushed with butter; then the almonds mixed with the sugar and cinnamon and drizzled with sauce. Cover with 5 last leaves, not baked, with melted butter in between each leaf.
  6. Keep the bstila tight by bringing together all the leaves overlapping the skillet. Brush with the rest of the butter.
  7. The baking: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake 30 minutes.
  8. Then turn this pie on a platter and slide it back in the skillet (or use 2 identically skillets and flip from one to the other) to bake the other side 25 more minutes.
  9. Slide or flip onto a serving platter. Sprinkled with a little more cinnamon and sugar (in a design, if you like).
  10. Can be baked on one side, then turned, then kept that way for a few hours, then baked 30 minutes on the other side and served.