Chicken Bastilla

From Matthew Altizer

2014 March April

Celebratory and sweet, Bastilla is traditionally made with pigeon but most restaurants use chicken. Use leftover roast or poached chicken to make the dish a bit less labour intensive. Serve with a simple green salad on the side.


  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large pinch saffron threads steeped in 2 T. water
  • 1 t. ras el hanout
  • 1 t. dried ginger
  • 1 t. ground coriander seeds
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 c. warm chicken stock
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/2 lbs. cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1/3 c. dried currants soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
  • 1 c. almonds, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 orange
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 sticks of butter (1/2 lb.), melted
  • 12 sheets filo pastry
  • icing sugar and cinnamon for dusting


In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 10-15 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the saffron water, ras el hanout, ginger, coriander and cinnamon and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and reduce by half.

Remove the pan from the heat, let cool for
5 minutes, then add the eggs, chicken, currants, almonds and orange juice and stir to combine. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and allow it to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. and lightly butter a 9-inch pie dish. Lay a filo sheet on the counter and brush it with melted butter. Lay 5 more sheets of filo, each brushed with butter, on top of each other, then put the filo in the pie dish. Spoon in the chicken mixture and top with another stack of 6 buttered sheets of filo. Crimp up the edges and pull them away from the side of the pan so they crisp up during cooking, brush the whole thing with melted butter and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the Bastilla is golden and crispy. Let the Bastilla cool slightly before dusting with icing sugar and cinnamon.
Serves 6.