I’m grateful for little Rocky dog, who entered our lives about fifteen years ago. I rescued him from an untenable situation when he was just over one, and kept him here with the big catahoulas for a few weeks until we found him a wonderful home in the neighborhood. He’s been everybody’s favorite resident for years with his inimitable spirit and unfettered cuteness. It’s hard to see him getting so old and wobbly, but he still wakes up bounding with excitement for a new day. I’m glad to be babysitting him while his mama’s away for a few days, and he and Wren are fast friends. He is, like so many friends, a mixed influence on her. He gets up way too early and barks, which isn’t a habit I want her to imitate but she does. However, he’s so mellow with visitors that she may learn better manners when meeting someone new.

By request, here’s the recipe for the B’stilla ‘hand pies’ I showed yesterday. I combined several recipes to come up with this version, and it’s definitely something I’ll make again. So simple, so delicious!

Chicken B’Stilla hand pies


2 Tbsp frying oil

2 boneless skinless organic chicken thighs, opened out

1 small onion, finely chopped

1-2 tsp Penzey’s Rogan Josh spice mix

1-2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 large organic free-range egg

salt and pepper

grated zest of ¼ orange

¼ to ½ fresh lemon

¼ cup blanched almonds, toasted and finely coarsely

¼ raisins, currants, or golden raisins (optional)

2 sheets of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry sheets

(or any other, but these for size)

2-3 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar

1-2 tsp ground cinnamon 

Mix these together and set aside

¼ cup butter, melted


  1. Pull puff pastry out of the freezer 40 minutes before you want to roll it, and take them out of the box. Lay separately and leave folded until thawed.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Sauté, turning once, until just cooked through, about ten minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool, then chop into half-inch bits. Put into a large bowl.
  3. Add remaining oil to the pan over medium heat and cook the onion until softened. Add spice blend and cook til fragrant, a minute or so. Stir in sugar, then add egg and scramble lightly. 
  4. Add onion-egg mixture to the bowl with chicken. Sprinkle in the ground toasted almonds, orange zest, and raisins, squeeze lemon juice over it, add more seasoning to taste, and mix well. Let cool.
  5. Open the pastry sheets one at a time gently, and roll out on a floured surface until thin and about 50% larger. Cut into thirds in both directions to end up with 9 rectangles. 
  6. With the short end of a rectangle facing you, put about 1 Tbsp of chicken mixture near the top of the rectangle with about an inch of pastry beyond. Fold ½” on each long side over the filling, then starting at the top roll the pastry over the filling toward you, keeping the sides folded in, til you have a little fat cylinder. Set cylinders seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  7. When all the cylinders are done, brush each with a little melted butter. At this point you can freeze them for an hour until they are firm, preheat your oven to 425℉, then bake them 12-15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through for evenness. (I could not wait, and had preheated my oven as I prepared the pies, and they turned out fine. I think they’d have been better if I’d chilled them first, making the buttery pastry even flakier.)
  8. When the pies are golden brown and crisp, remove from the oven and let them cool slightly. Then dust with powdered sugar-cinnamon mix and serve.
  9. The pies can be frozen before baking and should last a couple of months in an airtight container.
Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart plus other sources

2 thoughts on “Rocky

  1. Ooooh, that looks delicious! I’m gonna try it—after we replace our very old gas oven, which finally up and died (though the stovetop still works), with an induction range. I love cooking on flames, and I expect the new thing to take some getting used to. But– better to use juice from our solar panels to generate cooking heat than gas, with all its environmental & health problems. Anyway–maybe we’ll celebrate the new appliance, whenever we finally acquire it and get it hooked up, with some Rita-inspired hand pies!

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