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Palma's Chicken Pie


I read the recipe "Moroccan Style Chicken Pie" in this month's Bon Apetit magazine, and thought, "That really sounds good. Let's have that for dinner." I defrosted some chicken breasts and read the recipe again.

It sounded like a fabulous recipe, but I decided to make a spin-off with my own familiar flavors. I deleted and changed so much, that, it would be easier to just write my recipe than to tell you what I did differently. Basically, I deleted the cinnamon, ginger, tumeric, saffron, golden raisins, cilantro in the filling, and used pancetta, fresh sage, caramelized red onions, white wine and gruyere inside the pie, and substituted parmigiano and some nutmeg for the cinnamon and powdered sugar in the phyllo crust. My process was the same as the original recipe.

2 T. olive oil
1 red onion, sliced and caramelized in oil and 1 t. sugar
3 oz. chopped pancetta
4 chicken breasts
4 large sage leaves, chopped
2 T. Italian parsley, chopped
2 c. low-salt chicken broth
1/2 c. Pinot Grigio (or any dry white wine)
1 1/2 c. grated gruyere

Phyllo Crust:
1/2 c. ground almonds
1/4 t. sea salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/2 c. parmigiano
6 T. melted butter

Thaw 1 roll of phyllo dough for 2 hours at room temp.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add red onion and sugar, and saute until caramelized (10-15 min.) When onions are starting to caramelize, add chopped pancetta, and stir. Sprinkle flour over. Add broth, and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and add to pan. Cook chicken for 10 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, and let chicken cool enough to handle. Chop/shred chicken, and return meat to pan. Add wine, parsley and sage. Heat until sauce is thick, and chicken is coated.


Cool filling completely, or make ahead, cover and chill.

Combine almonds, salt and nutmeg. Have parmigiano in another small bowl. Unroll phyllo sheets, six at a time, and prepare for pie dish, by cutting into half round shapes the size of your pie pan. My pie pan was larger than the width of the phyllo, so I used 2 sheets (2 half-rounds), for each layer. (It would be much faster to use a square 9x9) pyrex, and then you would only need to trim the phyllo to a square, and could use scraps to make the next layer.)

Melt butter. Using a pastry brush, butter pie pan. Place first layer of phyllo in dish. Brush with butter, sprinkle with a scant teaspoon of nut mixture, and another of parmigiano. Repeat 4 more times.


Put half of chicken filling into pie, spreading evenly. Top with 3/4 c. of gruyere.


The original recipe had phyllo layers on the bottom and on the top. I decided to have a center layer as well. For the center layer of phyllo, I used three layers of phyllo dough. Repeat the melted butter part with the nuts and parm. Mound remaining chicken filling in pie. Top with remaining 3/4 c. gruyere. 5 more layers of phyllo, butter, nuts and parm and you are done! Cut 4 large slits in top of pie for steam to escape. Can be made 6 hours ahead.Cover and chill. Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


This was a delicious dinner with a crisp green salad with lettuce, arugula and blood oranges with a citrus vinaigrette.


Comments (5)

Barb Cabot:

Palma You completely blow me away every time! I hope you are working on your own cookbook (for publication). You could do everything from the photos to the developing of your own version of something traditional like this "Morrocan Chicken Pie". I love B'stila or Bestilla, not sure of the spelling. I've made it before to rave reviews but your recipe, well it sounds marvelous. You really are incredible in being able to make something differen and wonderful out of something already superb. Thank you, Thank you!

That looks so good. I saw the orginal recipe also and thought it sounded like something to try-I never thought about substituting anything.


Sounds delicious, Palma!

Ahh, Palma. Yet another beautiful creation. Just beautiful. I come to your blog just to drool.

You have done me a damage with this recipe. I am now starving, on a diet and craving all at the same time.

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