Moroccan Chicken B’stilla #chickenpie #Morocco with Carrot salad

This is another excellent dinner party dish which is easy to make but takes a bit of preparation. If you are cooking for more than 4 people, then it’s easy to double this recipe to make 2 pies at the same time.

The combination of the chicken cooked in Moroccan spices, icing sugar almonds and lemon zest is mouthwateringly divine.

I cook carrots in with the chicken to make a carrot salad at the same time to serve with the B’stilla. The carrots cooked in the chickeny liquid are delicious when zested up with citrus and ginger flavours. The recipe is at the bottom here.

B’stilla or Pastilla? The real thing in Fes.

The best B’stilla we had was a pigeon version in Fes made with homemade filo pastry at a restaurant called Dar Tajine tucked away in the heart of the Old Médina. https://www.dartajine.com. Dinner there cooked by Salaheddin the Owner and Chef was a really memorable experience – it felt like we were in his home for a family dinner. In Fes they call B’stilla “Pastilla”.

My recipe uses chicken and store-bought filo pastry but tastes pretty delicious as well.

RECIPE

Preparation time including marination:4 hours Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken large thigh cutlets with bone in and skin on
  • 8 large sheets of filo pastry
  • half a bunch of parsley
  • Half a bunch of coriander
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic smashed to a paste
  • 1 teaspoon saffron fronds
  • 4 teaspoons ras el hanout (Moroccan spice mix)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon powder
  • 3 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup of flaked almonds
  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 litres of boiling water
Freespiritfood.net B’stilla

Method

1. Place saffron fronds in 1/4 cup of just boiled water and allow to steep. Remove filo pastry from freezer to allow defrost for 3.5 hours.

2. In a seperate bowl mix garlic, ras el hanout, lemon juice(not the zest), salt, saffron and saffron water olive oil and mix well

3. Place chicken thigh cutlets in a big bowl and massage the ras el hanout mixture into the chicken. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Marinate for at least 2 hours.

4. Strip the leaves from the parsley and coriander. Keep the stems separately to leaves.

5. Peel and chop the carrot and onion into large chunks.

6. Put the onion, carrots, parsley and coriander stems into a large pot, add boiling water, then chicken. Bring to a boil, then simmer chicken for an hour, skimming from time to time.

7. Check carrots during this time and remove from the cooking liquid and place in a bowl after about 30 minutes when they are tender.

8. Remove chicken from the cooking liquid and place in a bowl or plate and allow to cool.

9. Carefully strain cooking liquid into a saucepan and boil it until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup.

10. Shred chicken into a bowl using your fingers, removing the bone and skin. (I wear gloves to do this.)

11. Chop parsley and coriander leaves and add to shredded chicken., along with the lemon zest, 1/2 the cinnamon, the flaked almonds,and the reduced cooking liquid to moisten the chicken.

12. Mix the rest of cinnamon with 2 tablespoons of icing sugar.

13. Pre-heat oven goes 180 degrees Celsius.

14. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and place one sheet of filo pastry flat on it, the brush with melted butter. Add another sheet of pastry on top, brushing with butter and repeat until you have 7 sheets of pastry on top of each other to form the base.

15. Dust the base with some of the icing sugar mixture, then pile chicken mixture in the middle to form a flattish round heap.

16. Sprinkle rest of icing sugar mixture over the top of the chicken. Add an extra sheet of pastry folded in half over the top of the chicken. Then fold over all the pastry from the bottom to form a neat package using melted butter to seal it all together as you go.

15. Turn the parcel over, add a small decoration like a heart cut out of pastry to the centre if you like, brush with melted butter. Place in hot oven and cook for 30-35 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

16. Allow to rest for a while, then lay kitchen string across the package to create a ceasing, sprinkle plain icing sugar over it all, carefully remove string and voila your perfectly presented B’stilla is ready to serve. If you have a doily you can sprinkle the icing sugar through this to create the pattern. If that’s too hard just sprinkle the whole thing with icing sugar!

17. Slice and serve with carrot and green salad.

Carrot Salad

Ingredients:

  • Carrots cooked in chicken cooking liquid
  • Handful of chopped parsley leaves
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 1/2 finger length of fresh ginger julienned into strips

While the B’stilla is resting, heat your carrots for 1 minute in a microwave,

Add the rest of the ingredients to the carrots, mix through and serve with B’stilla and a crisp green salad.

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Chicken with Leek, Peas, Dill and Chilli

Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s chicken traybake recipe

Here’s a link to the original recipe: https://www.today.com/recipes/nigella-lawson-s-chicken-pea-traybake-recipe-t127442

I have tweaked it to add a hint of chilli and replace the vermouth with dry white wine. My recipe also takes into account just cooking for two and cooking with our larger Australian leeks. The dill, garlic and chilli flavours somehow seep into the chicken and the peas and leeks are so yummy cooked in the juices of the chicken.

This is such a fabulous weekday, no fuss but delicious and different combination. After this first try I have to say it will definitely not be the last.

Thanks Nigella for the inspiration.

Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3-4 chicken thigh cutlets or thigh fillets – skin on
  • 1 kg bag of frozen peas
  • 1 leek
  • 4-5 stalks of dill with extra for garnish
  • 1/4 cup of dry white wine
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 red chillies (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Method

1. Pre-heat fan forced oven to 200 degrees celcius

2. Empty bag of frozen peas into flat casserole dish or oven tray that will fit chicken on top snugly

3. Slice leeks into thickish rounds

4. Pound garlic and 1 chilli into a paste in a mortar and pestle,adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt to help.

5. add 3/4 of the garlic chili paste, the leeks and dill torn into pieces to the peas

6. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the peas, add white wine, and mix all the base ingredients thoroughly

7. Rub leftover garlic chilli paste on chicken

8. Place chicken on top of peas and drizzle minimally with olive oil and sprinkle with some salt

9.Place in oven for 15 minutes or until skin starts to turn golden

10. Remove from oven and push peas down and mix peas around, removing chicken for a moment if needs be, so peas are slathered in the liquid and juices.

11. Roast in oven for further 45 minutes until chicken is cooked and most of the liquid is evaporated and peas are soft and juicy. Peas will lose their “greenness” but it‘s worth it, trust me!

12. Serve chicken garnished with extra dill, with peas on the side and accompany with a green salad and with or without roast potatoes for a delicious dinner

5.

Annie’s Festive #Duck Roll Recipe

My friend Annie has made this beautiful duck roll for a number of years as part of our family Christmas feast and this year I noted down the recipe and took photos as we went.

It is stunning addition to the table and can of course be enjoyed at anytime of the year. The combination of duck, chicken mince, pistachios, cranberries and sour cherries is delicious and looks festive and is quite delicious.

Ingredients

1 duck skin-on deboned by your butcher

450g chicken mince

250g unsalted peeled pistachio nuts

100g cranberries chopped

1 can (400g) sour cherries drained

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Skewers and kitchen twine

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius

Lay duck flat on a board skin-side down, season skin with slat and pepper

Mix chicken mince with oregano, pistachios, chopped cranberries, season with salt and pepper

Spread chicken over inside (middle part) of duck in an even layer

Stud chicken with sour cherries, about four across, laying evenly in rows “down” the duck.

Roll the duck and secure pulling “skin” across the duck and through the wing holes on the other side

Tie the duck together with kitchen string.

Rub duck sparingly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a dusting of dried oregano.

Put duck roll in roasting tin, along with wings and leftover chicken mixture formed into a patty.

Roast for an hour (about 40 minutes a kilogram) and until duck is golden brown.

Allow to rest for 20 minutes then slice into thin slices and place on a serving tray.

Serve with glazed carrots and a green salad for a lovely summer meal.

Spicy Roast Chicken with Lemon and Onions

I just got asked urgently for this recipe by a friend of mine and it reminded me that I haven’t made it myself for ages.

Might have to put it on the menus for a weekend roast.

I am thinking this would be is nice with cauliflower rice pilaf (recipe will be posted)and a green salad.

Here’s the link to the roast chicken recipe first though:

https://freespiritfood.net/2017/06/10/spicy-roast-chicken-with-lemon-and-onions/

#Spring #Soup with chicken #meatballs, leek and #Parmesan

A spring soup that combines tasty chicken meatballs with the sweetness of carrots, peas and leeks with the sharp saltiness of Parmesan. I used some quartered Brussel sprouts and spinach as well for a great result. It’s a great way to use up vegetables.

Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Meatballs
300g chicken mince
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic pounded to a paste
Pinch of salt
Black pepper
1/2 small onion very finely diced
1 red chilli finely diced (optional)

Soup:
1 litre chicken stock + 2-3 cups water
1 leek white and pale green part finely sliced
1/2 onion finely diced
1 carrot grated
2 cloves garlic pounded to a paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup of peas
8 Brussel sprouts quartered
Handful or two of baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and black pepper to season
Basil or parsley leaves for garnish

Method:

1. Combine ingredients for meatballs using and form into small meatballs.

2. Fry meatballs in a non stick fry pan until golden on all sides, for about 3 minutes and set aside.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy based soup,or casserole pot, add onions and leeks and sweat over low heat until tender, add garlic paste and stir through.

4. Add stock and 2 cups water to leek mixture and bring to a boil.

5. Add meatballs, grated carrots, Brussel sprouts and simmer gently for 5-8 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

6. Add peas and simmer for 1-2 minutes until peas are just tender.

7 turn off heat, add baby spinach and allow to sit for a few minutes.

8 serve in bowls, sprinkled with Parmesan, chopped basil/parsley, adding salt and pepper to taste. (serves 2-4)

#organic #roast chicken #delicious

Nothing better than lemon, onion and thyme stuffed chicken, with a light gravy made with the heavenly juices from roasting, and roasted vegetables with thyme.