Moroccan Pigeon Pie (or B’stilla) is famous for two things: being delicious and being an easy joke.
“Hey, I’m making pigeon pie tonight.”
“Be-stilla my heart!”
And then you can feel guilty and realize that you’re not cool anymore or perhaps you never were to begin with. But hey, maybe not everyone will have the same revelation that I did.
Pigeon pie does actually contain pigeons. Wipe that look off your face. We eat everything else and pigeons are annoying. The concern you should have is where you’re going to find a hearty pigeon to roast for dinner. If you don’t have a store near you that sells pigeon, you can either build a magnificent statue and wait for the pigeons to come or you can use a replacement. And while I like to think that everyone’s first choice is going to be a two-story spork, I think most people are going to opt for chicken thighs, quail, or Cornish hens.
But consider the statue.
Moroccan Pigeon Pie, or B’Stilla
½ cup blanched almonds
3 lb. pigeon (5-6) or bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
3 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon ras el hanout spice blend
½ teaspoon crushed red Chile flakes
¼ teaspoon saffron threads, mixed with teaspoon water
3 tablespoons minced cilantro
3 tablespoons minced parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more
8 sheets phyllo dough
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Toast almonds in a 4 quart saucepan over medium-high, 4–5 minutes; let cool. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely ground; set aside. Add pigeons and stock to pan; boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until pigeons are cooked through, 40–45 minutes. Using tongs, transfer pigeons to a cutting board; let cool, then shred meat, discarding skin and bones. Simmer cooking liquid over medium heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 30 minutes. Let cool and whisk in eggs; set sauce aside.
Wipe pan clean and add oil; heat over medium-high. Cook garlic and onion until golden, 8–10 minutes. Add ras el hanout, chile flakes, and saffron mixture; cook 1–2 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in reserved almonds, shredded meat, and sauce, the cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper; set filling aside.
Heat oven to 400°. Grease a 9″ springform pan with butter. Lay 1 sheet phyllo on a work surface and brush with melted butter. Fit into pan, allowing corners to hang over the edges. Repeat with another sheet phyllo. Spread ⅓ filling over dough. Repeat process of layering twice more. Fold corners of phyllo over filling. Top with remaining 2 sheets buttered phyllo; tuck corners around sides of pan, encasing the filling. Bake until golden and filling is set, 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly, then unmold; dust with confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon.
Post by Ian Sims. Recipe and Photo from Saveur.