B’stilla, pronounced pas-tee-ya, is a delicious pie traditionally made with young pigeon for special occasions…. but as these are rather hard to come by a chicken will suffice
This is a simplified version, and the end result is a fragrant chicken pie that will soon become a family favourite.
1.6kg free-range chicken, quartered
2 Spanish onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/4 cup each chopped flat-leaf parsley and coriander
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra, to brush
2 tablespoons caster sugar
175g blanched whole almonds, roasted, chopped
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
13 sheets filo pastry
Icing sugar and ground cinnamon, to dust
Place chicken, onions, ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, saffron, herbs, oil and butter in a large saucepan.
Add 750ml (3 cups) water or just enough to cover chicken.
Bring to a simmer over low/medium heat, then cover and cook for 1 hour or until chicken is tender.
Remove chicken from pan and, when cool enough to handle, shred the meat, discarding the skin and bones.
Simmer cooking mixture, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 500ml (2 cups). Allow mixture to cool.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Combine sugar, nuts and remaining cinnamon in a bowl. In another bowl, combine chicken, eggs and cooking mixture.
Oil a 23cm, 5cm-deep cake or pie tin.
Lightly brush a sheet of filo with oil, top with a second sheet and place in the tin to just cover the sides and base, extending beyond the tin on one side.
Repeat 5 times, arranging each double layer at a slight angle to the previous layer, so the pastry case looks like the spokes of a wheel.
Scatter half the nut mixture over the base, top with chicken mixture, then remaining nut mixture.
Fold in overhanging pastry, tucking excess down inside of pan. Brush remaining filo sheet with oil, fold in half and place on top, tucking in excess.
Brush the top with oil and bake for 35 minutes or until golden. If it browns too quickly, cover the pie with baking paper/foil.
Serve the b’stilla warm, dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon.