Pigeon Pie (Bastilla)

Travelling around the world, you discover a lot of neat things. Many of these things may seem foreign to you, but is actually common to the people of the country you’re visiting (or a potential tourist trap!). Take for instance, in Morocco I was entranced by all the amazing tiles and mosaic work that they had but it was dispersed on all around the city.

Morocco-tile-mosaic

Tiles and mosaics of Morocco

I was also amazed by the food. One particular dish is a specialty pie called bastilla. It’s made with poultry, ground almonds and spices which is wrapped in a phyllo dough-type pastry like a present. It is topped with a thin dusting of cinnamon and icing sugar, which gives it an interesting mélange of savoury and sweet flavours.

Morocco-Bastilla-Pastilla-Pie-Pigeon

Bastilla Pie – Chicken or Pigeon?

I was informed by the restaurant that it’s traditionally made with pigeon, but they offered an alternative which was chicken. Even though I asked for chicken, I’m pretty sure it was still pigeon (though in hindsight I’m glad they did). It was intriguing to eat, to say the least. It’s not often that I find dishes of meat mixed with cinnamon, sugar and nuts (let alone pigeon). I recall it tasted so foreign to me that I was estranged by the flavours. It was also very filling, so I only got through half of it. I don’t think it’s very common to find bastilla around Toronto, but if you find a place that sells it or if you have a good recipe let me know!

N.B. Thre are alternative spellings for this pie: bastela, b’steeya, bastila, bisteeya and pastilla.

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