Veal and Pearl Onion B’stilla (North African Meat Pie)

  • Serves

    serves 8

  • Cook

    3 hours

B'stilla, a North African meat pie, is traditionally made with poultry. Cookbook author Suzanne Zeidy's take includes veal and caramelized pearl onions. When ordering the veal for this recipe, have your butcher remove the bone.


  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 (2 3/4-lb.) veal shank, deboned and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded and finely choppped
  • 4 cups veal or chicken stock
  • 16 sheets phyllo dough (8 oz.)


instruction 0

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil over medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until caramelized, 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a bowl and increase the heat to medium-high. Season the veal with salt and pepper and then add to the pot. Cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 12 minutes.

instruction 1

Stir in the allspice, nutmeg, and chile, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Return the onions to the pot along with the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the veal is tender, about 1 hour, 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Roughly shred meat.

instruction 2

Heat the oven to 350°. Brush the inside of a 9-inch springform pan with some of the remaining 8 tablespoons butter. Line the bottom of the pan with 1 phyllo sheet, letting the excess hang over the sides, and then brush with melted butter. Repeat layering with 7 more phyllo sheets, brushing butter in between each layer and rotating the sheets one-quarter turn with each layer so they overlap in the pan.

instruction 3

Scrape the veal and onions into the pan and spread into an even layer. Fold the overhanging phyllo dough back over the veal and brush with more butter. Repeat layering the remaining 8 phyllo sheets on top of the filling, brushing butter in between each, and rotating the sheets 90 degrees with each layer so they overlap. Tuck the edges of the phyllo into the sides of the pan, and brush the top of the pie with butter.

instruction 4

Bake the b'stilla until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Transfer the b'stilla to a rack and let cool before serving.

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