Ever heard of a meal made with lots of love and patience? Then b’stilla, also known as pastilla, is it. It’s preparation has lots of steps and calls for a passionate heart to pull through. But once you are successful, you will never resist from making it right from your kitchen. More so, you will enjoy sharing your delicious b’stilla meat pie with family and friends. First of all, let’s understand the origin of this delicious cuisine.
Once upon a time, in the 15th century, Spain reconquered Granada. In the process, Moors were displaced and most of them immigrated to Morocco. At the same time, Sephardic Jews were also being displaced from Spain and most of them also settled in several parts of North Africa. It is therefore believed that most of b’stilla recipes were brought by these two communities who currently live in North Africa.
Interestingly, some claim that b’stilla recipes existed in Fez, Morocco way back in the eighth century. This was during the reign of Umayyad Caliphs. Regardless of its originality, b’stilla is one of the most popular African pies in the world. Here are some of the most common questions about b’stilla.
What Does B’stilla Mean?
Basically, b’stilla is coined from pastilla which is a Spanish word. It means ‘small pastry’ or ‘pill’, perhaps, referring to the delicate paper-thin sheets of pastry used to make the pie’s flaky and crispy crust. Since most of the Moroccans and North Africans at large, where b’stilla recipes spread from, use Arabic language, the ‘p’ in pastilla transformed into a ‘b’ hence the word b’stilla.
Which Country Created The B’stilla?
To point out a single country responsible for creating b’stilla recipes may not be entirely correct or precise. But it is commonly known to be created in Morocco, North Africa. It is one of the most popular Moroccan cuisines that you must try when in Morocco or in any other part of the world where you can find it. Currently, this scrumptious meat pie is also popular in other North African countries like Tunisia and Algeria. It is also common in Israel, North America, and France.
How Do You Pronounce B’stilla?
Though the word b’stilla looks short and simple, it may be tricky for most to pronounce. Some pronounce it as pas-tee-ya and others bee-stee-ya. All in all, here is the correct pronunciation of this ancient meat pie that never loses its sumptuousness.
What’s B’stilla in a nutshell?
It is a meat pie that is traditionally made with sour and sweet pigeon meat. To the meat, almonds, onions, and beaten eggs are added. To give the meat pie that unique and bold flavor that you will fall in love with, spices like fresh coriander, saffron, and cinnamon are added. The nicely and skillfully done filling is then wrapped in thin pastry sheets also known as warqa after which it is baked until golden brown.
The ready b’stilla pie is then dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar and served hot. B’stilla is often taken as a starter and is mostly served on special occasions like weddings and birthday parties among others. If you can not get pigeon meat, substitute it with chicken or quail meat and you will get the same if not better results. The use of pigeon, chicken, or quail meat gives this pie a tick as far as nutrition is concerned. This is because white meat is a healthy source of animal protein which is a bonus to all meat and pastry lovers.
These 10 B’stilla Recipes Are Making People To Fall In Love
#1. Moroccan B’stilla By Marocmama
This is one of the few dishes that Moroccans can claim for their own. Unlike couscous or tajine which stretches across the Maghreb b’stilla is firmly routed in Morocco. Today, the most common type of b’stilla served is chicken but traditionally it was made with pigeon. Only recently has this dish become something that an average Moroccan person might eat – previously it was reserved only for royalty or the wealthy.
This is made with a dough called ourka (work-a) that is a bit thicker than filo dough. You can sometimes pick it up in Middle Eastern markets but if not filo dough works too. This recipe is a bit different than the traditional recipe but it’s how I’ve adapted it for my American kitchen.
#2. B’stilla Moroccan Chicken Pie – my beating heart!! by Lambs’ Ears & Honey
B’stilla – or bisteeya or lots of other spellings – is a classic Moroccan chicken pie, traditionally made with pigeon or squab, but also with chicken, combining both sweet and savory elements. It is also something that I have been dying to try ever since I first saw a recipe for it.
This recipe for my Moroccan chicken pie is the adapted version that I finally placed with a flourish (and some baked carrots) on the dinner table last night. It’s, rich, sublimely tasty, and not difficult. If required, it can be made in two steps, making it great for a feasting table as it can be prepared in part the day before.
#3. Moroccan Chicken Pie with Apricots and Almonds (B’Stilla) by Foodie On Board
I think that many cultures have a tradition of meat pies, or pastries filled with meat, but my new found favorite is this savory and sweet chicken phyllo pie from Morocco. I love the buttery crunch of the phyllo pastry and the way that Moroccans add sweetness to Moroccan Chicken Pie with Apricots and Almonds (B’Stilla) by combining the meat with dried fruit such as apricots or raisins, and then dusting the top of the pie with icing sugar and cinnamon.
The result is a rich, exotic dish with a surprising burst of sweetness when our taste buds meet the dried apricots and the dusting of sugar that tops the pie
#4. Moroccan Spiced Pumpkin B’Stilla with Beetroot & Yoghurt By You Plate It
A B'Stilla is a traditional Moroccan pie, usually featuring pigeon or other poultry, liberally spiced, and finished with a sweet and spicy topping. Here we have made it vegetarian, incorporating all that sweetness and spice into the filling, and serving it with an earthy beetroot side. It's a little longer on the cooking time, but well worth the wait.
#5. Moroccan Chickpea B’Stilla-Sweet, Savory and Showy By Robin Asbell
Moroccan food is a treasure trove of plant based flavors. Their traditional dishes, like tagine, are usually graced with plenty of vegetables, spices, sweet and tart balance, and fresh herbs. When I visit Moroccan restaurants, though, the vegetarian tagine is usually pretty bland, while the meat based dishes get all the attention.
That is why I like to make my own versions of Moroccan food, and borrow the combinations from the meaty recipes and use them to make spectacularly tasty plant based dishes.
#6. B’stilla (Moroccan chicken pie) by Delicious
This Moroccan chicken pie - B'stilla is as delicious as it is gorgeous. A delicious dish that fills your day with a beautiful smile
#7. Morrocan-Style Chicken Pie (B’STILLA) by Turn Table Kitchen
B’stilla. Now that’s a word you’ve probably never heard before (perhaps I’m being presumptuous). Until a few years ago, it certainly wasn’t a dish I was familiar with. But I’ve quickly learned to love it, and finally, finally attempted to make it at home. To be clear, this is not the traditional Moroccan dish made with squab and layers of phyllo dough. However, the concept is similar: the filling made with (in this case) chicken is loaded with a bevy of warming spices, fresh herbs and dotted with plump, golden raisins.
#8. Moroccan Pigeon Pie (B’stilla) by Saveur
This sumptuous Moroccan starter—a spiced poultry pie enriched with scrambled eggs and decorated with ground almonds, sugar, and cinnamon—is typically served at weddings and other festive occasions. Traditionally the pastry known as warqa and bone-in pigeon are used to make b’stilla, but phyllo and chicken thighs, quail, or Cornish game hen make excellent substitutes.
#9. Marrakech B’stilla by Taste
B'stilla, pronounced pas-tee-ya, is a delicious pie traditionally made with young pigeons for special occasions. This is a simplified version with chicken.
#10. B’Stilla (Moroccan Chicken Pie) by Burma Spice
B’Stilla is a Moroccan chicken pie that features both savory and slightly sweet flavors that mix surprisingly well together. This meat pie is made with delicate layers of flaky, buttered phyllo pastry and filled in three tiers with heartily spiced chicken. (Although, traditionally, this dish would be made with squab or pigeon.)
Perfectly balanced, the spices dance aromatically in your mouth with every bite. We can see why B’Stilla is traditionally served for special occasions. We can also see how hungry, eager faces sitting around a table, awaiting a plate full of savory-sweet meat pie, could become just enough of a special occasion to justify making and serving this delicious dish…anytime.
Good food makes the heart glad. Thomas Keller once said that “A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.” So, go ahead and give soul to the b’stilla recipes above and be kind enough to share your experience in the comments section below. Once you make your b’stilla you will understand the Tunisian proverb that says,
“They ate our food, and forgot our names.”
You will also agree with Alan D. Wolfelt when he said, “Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” Will you express your love through these b’stilla recipes? We cant wait to share your experience.