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 Recommended
Coming Soon...
Friday, Feb 21
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
10:00 AM Talk: Growing Up In West Berlin During The Cold War
1:00 PM Talk: Exploring the Origins of Today’s Humans
1:30 PM  San Diego International Jewish Film Festival
6:00 PM Where The Light Travels: Portraits Of San Diego Refugee Students
6:00 PM Gaslamp Mardi Gras Party Hop
7:00 PM Music: BeauSoleil with Michael Doucet & Sarah Quintana
7:00 PM Comedy: Rex Navaarrete
7:00 PM Film: Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice
7:00 PM French Baroque Music Concert
7:30 PM Music: Téada
7:30 PM  California's American Indian & Indigenous Film Festival
8:00 PM Music: Hutchins Consort with Winifred Horan
8:00 PM Stage: Hurricane Diane
8:00 PM Stage: She Loves Me
9:00 PM Comedy: Rex Navaarrete
Saturday, Feb 22
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
10:00 AM KPBS World Thinking Day
10:00 AM Black Comix Day
2:00 PM Talk: Comedia Italian Style
2:30 PM  California's American Indian & Indigenous Film Festival
6:00 PM Cajun Festival
6:00 PM Gaslamp Mardi Gras Party Hop
7:00 PM French Baroque Music: Couperin, Charpentier, Rameau
7:00 PM Concert: The Music Of William Grant Still
7:30 PM  San Diego International Jewish Film Festival
8:00 PM Music: Amber Liu, Meg & Dia, Justin Park
8:00 PM Music: Immigrant Songs
8:00 PM Stage: Hurricane Diane
8:00 PM Stage: She Loves Me
9:00 PM Comedy: Rex Navaarrete
Sunday, Feb 23
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
10:00 AM Black Comix Day
12:30 PM  San Diego International Jewish Film Festival
2:00 PM International Cottage Sampler Program
2:00 PM Stage: She Loves Me
5:00 PM Concert: The Music Of William Grant Still
7:00 PM Stage: Hurricane Diane
8:00 PM  The Benedetti Trio: George Harrison Tribute
Monday, Feb 24
All Day  Indigenous Writers and Their Critics: International Symposium
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
6:00 PM Art Talk: Daniel Guzmán
7:00 PM Talk: Michele Norris
Tuesday, Feb 25
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
All Day  Indigenous Writers and Their Critics: International Symposium
1:00 PM Film & Discussion: The Farewell
6:00 PM African-American Women in Film
6:00 PM Gaslamp Mardi Gras Party Hop
7:00 PM Victoria Martino: Carnival in Venice
7:00 PM Stage: Hurricane Diane
8:00 PM Music: The Chieftains
Wednesday, Feb 26
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
7:00 PM  Writer's Symposium with Pico Ayer
7:00 PM Stage: Hurricane Diane
7:30 PM Stage: Orestes 2.0
Thursday, Feb 27
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
10:45 AM Book Talk: Baja California Land of Missions
1:00 PM Music: Kembang Sunda Gamelan
3:20 PM Talk: Urban Redevelopment Projects in South Africa
8:00 PM Stage: Hurricane Diane
Friday, Feb 28
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
5:00 AM  28th Annual Kuumba Festival
3:30 PM Talk: The Racial Imaginary at Work Poetry and the Visual Arts
7:00 PM Música En La Plaza: Los Montaño
7:30 PM Stage: Orestes 2.0
8:00 PM Film: Jojo Rabbit
8:00 PM Stage: Hurricane Diane
8:00 PM Stage: She Loves Me
Saturday, Feb 29
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
11:00 AM  28th Annual Kuumba Festival
2:00 PM Stage: Safa's Story
2:00 PM Stage: Orestes 2.0
3:00 PM Stage: Little Rock
7:00 PM Stage: Safa's Story
7:30 PM Stage: Orestes 2.0
8:00 PM Film: Jojo Rabbit
8:00 PM Stage: Hurricane Diane
8:00 PM Stage: She Loves Me
9:00 PM Music: Los Pericos, Los Estrambóticos & Ecno
9:00 PM Spanglish At Finest City Improv
Sunday, Mar 1
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
11:00 AM  28th Annual Kuumba Festival
12:00 PM 7th Annual Mariachi Festival
1:00 PM  Music: Kembang Sunda Gamelan
2:00 PM Stage: She Loves Me
3:00 PM Los Angeles Balalaika Orchestra
7:00 PM Stage: Hurricane Diane
7:30 PM Music: Miguel Zenón Quartet
Monday, Mar 2
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
8:00 PM Music: iLe
Tuesday, Mar 3
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
6:30 PM  Talk About Series: Venezuela - What Does It Mean To Live in a Failed State?
7:00 PM Stage: Hurricane Diane
Wednesday, Mar 4
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
7:00 PM Stage: Hurricane Diane
Thursday, Mar 5
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
8:00 PM Stage: Hurricane Diane
Moroccan B'stilla
A sweet and savory meat pie from Morocco!

B'stilla served
All photos by author

B'stilla is thought to be the national dish of Morocco. It is almost always served at weddings. Legend has it that this dish originated in the city of Fez. Authentically the recipe calls for using squab (a young pigeon), but you can use chicken thigh meat as this recipe calls for. Chicken breasts don't work very well as they easily dry out. This is not a particularly easy dish to make, but it doesn't really require any special skills, just a good attention to preparation details.

Basically B'stilla is a sweet and savory meat pie with a filo dough crust. The combination of ingredients and resulting flavors is quite interesting. As my wife said rather enthusiastically, "It's a keeper!"

Serves 4


Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon olive, canola or grapeseed oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup of chopped shallots or 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of yellow raisins
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt (to taste)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick of butter, melted and cooled somewhat
  • 8 sheets filo pastry, unfrozen but kept refrigerated until used
  • 1 tablespoon of regular sugar
  • icing/confectioner's sugar
  • enough cinnamon for the top decoration
Essential Equipment:
  • large frying pan with cover
  • baking sheet
  • 9 inch pie pan
  • pastry brush
  • assorted bowls

Important Preparation Notes:

It is good cooking practice to measure out all ingredients first, putting each ingredient in its own separate bowl. Spices, however, can be measured out and put in a single bowl.

If you follow this recipe step by step, you will end up eating sometime around midnight. Read through the entire recipe first and you will see that while the filling mixture is simmering, you can be preparing other ingredients.

Preparation (part 1)

B'stilla Filling
Filling just about done cooking

1 Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken thighs and brown on all sides. Remove chicken from frying pan.

2 Add remaining oil to pan. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft. Add garlic, saffron, cumin, ginger, salt and cinnamon. Stir and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add chicken stock and bring mixture to a boil.

3 Return chicken to frying pan, cover, reduce heat and simmer. Stir pot every few minutes while it is cooking. After 30 minutes, turn off heat, remove chicken from pan.

4 While the above filling is cooking, coarsely grind -- with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder -- the slivered almonds. Put resulting almond meal in a frying pan and heat over medium-low heat. Stir almond meal often, until light golden. Transfer almond meal to bowl so that it stops roasting and doesn't burn. Mix into the almond meal a teaspoon of regular cinnamon and a tablespoon of regular sugar.

5 Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

6 When chicken is cool enough, shred it with a fork and return to the frying pan. Once again, bring mixture in pan to a simmer. Stir in coriander, parsley and raisins to chicken mixture. After these ingredients have been mixed, continue stirring mixture while slowly adding beaten eggs. Simmer mixture, stirring frequently to avoid burning, until the moisture is driven off and the mixture is moist but no longer watery. Turn off heat to frying pan.

Preparation (part 2)


7 You will now create the "pie" with the filo dough. It is important that the dough does not dry out while assembling the pie. You can prevent this by laying out the 6 sheets of dough on a flat surface and covering them with a clean damp kitchen towel, removing sheets one at a time (and then re-covering the remaining sheets with the towel).

8 With a pastry brush, lightly coat a 9 inch pie pan with butter.

Folded Bstilla
The folded over filo sheets

9 This following are directions how to make a stack of filo dough in which every two layers is separated by the ground almond mixture. On a large flat surface (a cutting board or clean counter top), lay out one sheet of filo dough and brush lightly with butter. On top of this layer place another sheet of filo dough "cross-wise" (90 degrees, filo sheets are usually rectangular) from the first sheet and again brush with melted butter. Sprinkle a thin layer of the roasted almond mix on top of the buttered sheet. Place the third sheet of filo on top, (cross-wise from the last) brush with butter and then place the forth sheet, this time again brushing with butter and layering with the almond mixture. Continue this process until you have used all eight sheets. You need not butter or festoon the final layer with the toasted almond meal (but you will use the remainder of it before you are done).

10 Transfer the stack of filo sheet onto the pie pan, allowing the edges to overhang the pan. Gently press into the pan.

11 Spoon the warm chicken mixture into center of filo distributing it evenly. Layer by layer fold overlapping filo over, enclosing filling.

12 Place a baking sheet over the pie and very carefully flip the pie over on to the pan and then remove the pie plate.
BstillaBeforeAfter
B'stilla before and after baking

Preparation (part 3)


13 Place the B'stilla on the center rack of your preheated oven and back until the filo is a pleasing golden brown. After about fifteen minutes, check the progress of the baking frequently so that you don't burn the dough. In Morocco, B'stilla can be deep-fat fried, but we didn't try this.

Decorated Bstilla
Decorate with powdered sugar and cinnamon

14 After the "pie" achieves its golden-brown perfection, remove it from the oven. Coat the top of the B'stilla with a generous layer of confectioner's sugar (using a sifter or a mesh strainer might make it easier) and create a design on top of this with cinnamon. We used a piece of paper rolled into a funnel to apply the cinnamon design.

To serve, cut into pie shaped pieces. I am quite sure you will be very pleasantly surprised by how all these flavors flamboyantly interact.

Enjoy!

T. Johnston-O'Neill
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