Chicken Bastilla

Chicken Bastilla

Recipe by Apprentice Abdu


Total time





Indulge in the flavors of Morocco with this delicious chicken bastilla recipe! This savory dish is made with tender chicken, aromatic spices and a sweet almond topping. Perfect for a special occasion or a cozy dinner at home, this recipe is sure to impress your guests.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 3lbs chicken, cut in pieces

  • 2¼ lbs onions, sliced

  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 15 strands saffron

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 cups fresh parsley, chopped, about 1 large bunch

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, about half a large bunch

  • 1 cup water

  • 14 ounces blanched almonds, slivered

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided, plus extra for final sprinkling

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, divided

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 8 eggs for scrambling, plus 1 egg beaten for brushing pastry case

  • 8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 package (about 1lb) prepared phyllo dough or puff pastry


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or frypan over medium heat. Sauté the chicken pieces, along with onions, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon sticks, saffron, salt and pepper.
  • Stir occasionally for 15 minutes, leaving uncovered. Reduce heat to simmer. Add chopped parsley, cilantro and water and remove the cinnamon sticks. Simmer covered for 50 minutes.
  • While the chicken cooks, prepare the almond topping: Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a baking pan. Add almonds and toss to coat well. Toast in the preheated oven until lightly browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool. Coarsely chop or grind the almonds in a blender or mortar and pestle, and mix with about 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon and about 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar to taste. Set aside.
  • When the chicken is tender, remove from the pot and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon honey, 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the cooking liquid and simmer uncovered until the liquid evaporates and the onions are golden brown. Remove the chicken from the bone, shred and stir back into the onion/spice mixture.
  • Melt 2 to 3 tablespoons butter in a frypan. Add 8 beaten eggs and scramble until firm. Add to the chicken/onion mixture.
  • To assemble: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt remaining butter. Coat two 12-inch cake tins with melted butter or nonstick spray. Place 8 to 10 sheets of phyllo in tins, first brushing each layer with melted butter, reserving unused sheets under a damp towel. Add the filling to the phyllo-lined pan. Fold the phyllo edges over the filling, brushing with butter after each layer. For the final layer, use beaten egg wash on top instead of butter. Bake about 20 to 30 minutes or longer, until golden.
  • Let cool for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Sprinkle with the almond topping and cinnamon before serving.

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