This week: A Moroccan chicken potpie-ish dish called Chicken B'stilla. I'll start off by saying that this is not out of my comfort zone. It's more that I just don't make Moroccan food very often.
I read the P&Q post and saw that some people were asking about wine pairing. Well, I contributed, though a bit late, and mentioned that I do like Rhône Varietals with Moroccan food--but not just any old Rhône varietal. I prefer Mourvèdre first, then (maybe) Grenache.
I was thinking all about the wines and what would pair best, etc., and then I came up with MY BEST PLAN EVER! Instead of going out to dinner like we were supposed to, I'd make the B'stilla one day earlier than planned AND I'd open up 3 or 4 different bottles of wine so we could compare! Tell me: what is the downside here?
So, I made some phone calls and that became the plan.
(I'll leave the wine section for another post that is directly below this one. Those who could care less about wine can just skip it.)
Thank goodness it was my at home day. I started marinating the chicken, first mixing the onions and spices all together to really coat the onions, and then adding the chicken. Also, any excuse to use my Staub casserole is fine by me:
Let me tell you, it smelled really good in my kitchen.
With the next step, when I braised the chicken, the aromas became more pronounced and I could even smell them outside (it was a lovely 75 degrees here, by the way). Mmmmm.
I made the mixture of chicken and onions, and then made the sauce. I followed Katrina's suggestion on the P&Q. It's something I know to do, but would've just blindly followed the recipe anyway (yes, even after what happened with the cake last week). She mentions that you need to temper the eggs, so as I madly whisked the eggs and honey I added in 1/3 of the broth reduction in a thin stream until it was all incorporated. Then I added all of that in a thin stream to the rest of the reduction still in the hot pan on the stove. That way, I didn't have any scrambling of the eggs when they were added to something that was super hot. One more thing: I made sure my eggs were room temperature so that it would minimize the temp difference as much as possible.
Here is the sauce all mixed together, right before I started whisking it until the whisk "left tracks":
|Yes, my stovetop is dirty. I hang my head in shame.|
Now, though. Now is when we come to the philosophical questions inherent in any dish that uses phyllo/fillo/filo dough. I think many of them are unanswerable. For example: is there any package of phyllo dough that doesn't have at least one sheet that will rip no matter how careful you are? If we find said perfect package, have we reached nirvana? I, personally, have a love-hate relationship with the stuff. I love it and its buttery, flaky goodness. I hate it because there's always at least one sheet that rips no matter how carefully I do all of the damp towel, open like a book, whatever else that they tell us to do. I love it because even with all of that it's fairly forgiving. I hate it when I'm worried about it not being forgiving while I'm in the thick of preparing it. Ultimately I have decided that I should approach it in a more zen-like manner. Phyllo will do these things--it will rip and look ridiculously rumpled and unprofessional--and that is okay. I shall take it in stride, but still remain focused. In the end, I'd much rather contemplate phyllo and its issues than all of my regular stressors. So, there it is.
With all of that said, I still got irritated. HA! Here's my finished B'stilla base, wherein 2--yes, 2 of the 4--of those be-damned sheets ripped!
|I used the almonds.|
And here's the pie-ish thingy before I did the top crust:
The next part was kind of fun! I used a pan lid as a guide to cut a large circle for the top crust and tucked it in like making a bed. Or something.
Here that is:
|With a light sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar just before going into the oven.|
I then had to wait 40 minutes. By this point, I think my husband had fallen asleep in front of the TV and I was starving. Those of you in this group know--this is not really difficult to make, it just takes a lot of time!
But, then! Oh, then! The timer went off and it smelled sooo good. And it was pretty.
While that cooled off for 5 minutes, and while my husband wandered in looking groggy (and then began salivating all over the pie) I made the lemon-steamed spinach recipe as a side.
Here's the plate as I was staving off the hungry beast behind me:
The result? YUMMY! The B'stilla is really a wonderful dish and it's so rich that you don't have to eat too much of it. Also, that lemon-steamed spinach is really great. I'm not a huge fan of steamed spinach, but this was the best I've ever had.
Now that's done, WHAT ABOUT THE WINE?
You'll have to see the WINE POST!