Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Moroccan Dinner Party

A good friend hosted a fabulous Moroccan-themed dinner party this weekend, and while there was no belly dancing, the menu was to die for. The appetizer was a Bastilla, the sweet and savory chicken pie of Morocco, made with phyllo dough, braised chicken, almonds, and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

This is a dish that everyone should try at least once - and if you’re anything like me, you will crave it ever after. Next, a lamb tagine with kalamata olives and apricots, served with roasted veggies over couscous. (Didn't get a picture as we were fully engaged in stuffing our faces at this point.)

Finally, an orange-cardamom custardy flan for dessert, sitting in a pool of caramelized sugar.

Once again, I am in awe of the power food has to transport us far away from our everyday lives. You must try the Bastilla - it's like chicken pot pie on crack, a delightfully exotic dish to make on a weekend and impress your friends and family.

Moroccan Bastilla

1 chicken (about 3 lbs.)
2 med. onions, chopped
1 lg. can (49 oz.) chicken broth
1 c. chopped parsley
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 eggs
8 sheets phyllo dough (keep covered)
4 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. sliced almonds
Powdered sugar & cinnamon

Cook chicken in broth with onions, parsley, cinnamon stick, ginger, and pepper for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Debone and skin; cut meat into bite size pieces. Bring broth to a boil over medium heat. Lightly beat eggs and pour slowly into broth; cook, stirring until curds form, about 1 to 2 minutes. Strain.

Brush melted butter on bottom and sides of a deep 10" pie pan. Overlap 6 phyllo sheets to cover the bottom and extend 8" to 10" over the edge of the pan. Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Top with chicken; spread egg mixture over the top and sprinkle with almonds. Fold edges of phyllo dough over filling and brush top with butter. Fold remaining 2 sheets of phyllo over filling and brush top with butter. Fold remaining 2 sheets of phyllo in half cross wise and place on top. Tuck edges inside pan and brush with butter. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Invert on a cookie sheet and bake until bottom is golden, about 10 minutes. Turn onto a platter and cool 5 minutes. Sift powdered sugar over top. Decorate with criss crossing lines of ground cinnamon. Slice to serve. Makes 8 main dish servings or may be used as an appetizer.


  1. It was sooo good! Chris just absolutely fell in love with everything. EVERYTHING!

  2. Morocco type food always intrigues me, but I'm not always sure what I'm eating...what are their main influences? African? French? (shrug)

  3. I can almost smell the cinnamon and ginger. Years ago, before we had ethnic restaurants on every corner, we would go to a little place that served kind of French/Morrocan influenced food. Every time, I would order the bastilla. Delicious.


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