I adore Moroccan food. The smell that envelopes your house when you are cooking a Morrocan Tagine is, in my books, way up there with Glade Plug Ins, popcorn, and white glue! I also love the way so many Moroccan dishes incorporate dried fruits and nuts (two of my favourite food groups). I have recently invested in a real ceramic Tagine, and a couple of Moroccan cookbooks and I've experimented with some different types of salads, couscous, and stews. I haven't posted any of these recipes yet but I will (someday).
Both of my Moroccan cookbooks have recipes for Chicken B'stilla (pronounced Bisteeya). Everytime I flip through those books, I hang on those pages, drooling over the pictures, but despairing over how complicated (and caloric) the recipe seems. And so, I dog ear the page (again) for another time.
- When I was in New Zealand on vacation over the holidays, I was happy to see there was a Moroccan restaurant in Rotorua. I went on-line and noticed that they had Chicken B'stilla on their menu. My heartrate went through the roof (hey, I get excited about food!). This was a perfect opportunity to taste this dish without having to slave over it all day, and without being able to go back for seconds (or fourths)...which I knew was going to be a serious risk...
- Sadly, our travel companions weren't so fussy about the whole Moroccan food idea, and so I didn't get to go. I've been mourning that Chicken B'stilla ever since. There aren't too many Moroccan restaurants here in Ottawa, and to my knowledge, none serve Chicken B'stilla.
- And so, when I noticed that the 2009 Holiday edition of the LCBO Food and Drink Magazine had a recipe for Chicken B'stilla, I new it was fate. I ran out right away and bought the ingredients before I could come to my senses. I even made one last ditch attempt to subvert my own plans. That morning at breakfast I asked my husband Mario, "so what would you like for dinner tonight, poached plain chicken breasts with boring steamed vegetables and dry boiled potates OR Chicken B'stilla?"
- He answers (with conviction) Chicken B'Stilla! And then, "so what exactly IS Chicken B'stilla again?".
- This is Chicken B'stilla.
- Chicken B'stilla
- (Note: the original recipe called for chicken with the skin on, and for 1/2 cup of butter, I used skinless chicken and cut the butter in half and the recipe did not suffer at all from these alterations. At least I don't think it did... I'd have to actually try it the original way to know for sure.... oh geez....)
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 4 chicken breasts
- 4 onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp chili flakes
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 cup chicken stock
- salt and pepper
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup dates, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 9 sheets phyllo pastry
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (or more if you run out)
- Icing sugar for garnish
- In a large frying pan with a cover, heat vegetable oil and brown chicken breasts on both sides. Remove to a plate.
- In the same pan add onions and cook about 10 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, chili flakes and turmeric. Stir for 30 seconds.