Moroccan, Poultry

Bisteeya

Serves: 8

This wonderful recipe – courtesy of my mother – is seriously great and in so many ways.

Whilst it is a bit of an effort to make, it absolutely rewards: it looks beautiful as part of a banquet, it tastes really special, it’s fun and as I discovered, it is Oliver (my 8 year old) friendly. So friendly that he asked if he could take a slice in his lunchbox to school; this coming from a kid that thinks that tomatoes are dodgy.

Try this just once and I promise you’ll have a smile on your face!

Ingredients

1 c butter
2 c slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sugar
Ground cinnamon
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 large onion, chopped
½ c chopped coriander
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp saffron threads, crushed
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp turmeric
salt
1 c water
3 tbsp lemon juice
6 eggs, beaten
filo pastry
icing sugar

Method

  1. Sauté the almonds in 1 tablespoon butter until golden, and then remove and drain on paper towels.
  2. When the almonds are cool, chop them coarsely and combine with the sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
  3. Sauté the chicken in 1 ½ teaspoons butter until lightly browned and then remove.
  4. Sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon butter until tender, and then add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, the coriander, garlic, cumin, saffron, pepper and turmeric and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the water, bring to a boil, and then add the chicken and cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, cut into small pieces, and toss with 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
  7. Simmer the onion mixture, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the eggs and cook until softly set, and then season with the remaining lemon juice and salt.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a rimmed baking tray with baking paper.
  10. Arrange 10 – 12 sheets of filo on the paper in a pinwheel fashion, brushing each with melted butter.
  11. Top with a sheet folded in half and brushed with butter.
  12. Arrange the chicken in a 9 inch circle over the pastry and spoon over the egg mixture.
  13. Top with the almonds and fold the sheets up on top of the filling.
  14. Repeat the pinwheel pattern over the top with 10 – 12 more sheets of filo, brushing each with melted butter.
  15. Tuck these sheets gently under the pie and brush the top with butter.
  16. Bake for 20 minutes or until browned and then remove from the oven.
  17. Place baking paper on another baking sheet, place over the pie, invert, and return the pie to the oven and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes.
  18. Invert the pie onto a platter, sift over some icing sugar, and sprinkle on some cross-hatch lines of cinnamon.
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