Bisteeya (Morocco) Pt 1

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Title: Bisteeya (Morocco) Pt 1
Yield: 1 Servings


6 Squab pigeons; or 5 pounds
-chicken legs and thighs
5 Cloves garlic; peeled
1 c Chopped parsley; mixed with
-a little chopped fresh
-green coriander
1 Spanish onion; grated
1 pn Pulverized saffron
1/4 ts Turmeric
1 ts Freshly ground black pepper
1 ts Ground ginger
3 Cinnamon sticks
1 c Butter
1/4 c Salad oil
1 lb Whole; blanched almonds
Confectioners' sugar
Ground cinnamon
1/4 c Lemon juice
10 Eggs
1/2 lb Phyllo pastry or strudel
-leaves, or 40 warka leaves
-(up to 3/4)

This is my absolute favorite recipe, but it's rather involved (for me
anyway hehe) I don't make it nearly as often as I would like to eat it
:-) I always use chicken as I don't have any pigeons handy, and I've never
been able to find saffron and even if I could I understand it'd cost my
kids' college tuition to pay for it. I also always use the phyllo, as it's
readily available. I got the recipe from "Couscous and other Good Food from
Morocco" by Paula Wolfert. (Which by the way is a wonderfully informative
book if you're at all interested in Morroccan customs etc.)

1. Wash the poultry well and pull out as much fat as possible from the
cavities. Crush the garlic and make a paste of it with 2 tablespoons salt.
Rub the poultry with the paste, then rinse well and drain. Put the squabs
or chickens in a 5 1/2 quart casserole with the giblets, herbs, onion,
spices, half the butter, a little salt, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil,
then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in the skillet and brown the almonds
lightly. Drain on paper towels. When cool, crush them with a rolling pin
until coarsely ground, or run them through a nut grinder. Combine the
almonds with 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon.
Set aside.

3. Remove the poultry, giblets, cinnamon sticks, and any loose bones from
the casserole and set aside. By boiling rapidly, uncovered, reduce the
sauce in the casserole to approximately 1 3/4 cups, then add the lemon
juice. Beat the eggs until frothy, then pour into the simmering sauce and
stir continuously until the eggs cook and congeal. (They should become
curdy, stiff, and dry.) Taste for salt and set aside.

4. Remove all the bones from the squabs or chickens. Shred the poultry into
1 1/2 inch pieces and chop the giblets coarsely.

5. Heat the remaining butter. When the foam subsides, clarify it by pouring
off the clear liquid butter into a small bowl and discarding the milky
solids. Up to this point the dish can be prepared in advance, even the day

6. Preheat the oven to 425

7.Unroll the pastry leaves, keeping them under a damp towel to prevent them
from drying out. Brush some of the clarified butter over the bottom and
sides of a 13 inch cake pan, or pizza pan, or paella pan, then cover the
bottom of the pan with a pastry leaf. Arrange 6 more leaves so that they
half cover the bottom of the pan and half extend over the sides. (The
entire bottom of the pan should be covered.) Brush the extended leaves with
butter so they do not dry out. (If you are using warka, arrange about 15 to
18 leaves around the bottom and sides; there is no need to butter extended

8. Fold 4 leaves in half and bake in the oven for 30 seconds, or until
crisp but not too browned, or fry the leaves on an oiled skillet. (this is
unnecessary if using warka.)

9. Place chunks of poultry and giblets around the inner edges of the pan,
then work toward the center so that the pastry is covered with a layer of
shredded poultry. Cover this layer with the well-drained egg mixture from
step 3, and the four baked or fried pastry leaves.

10. Sprinkle the almond-sugar mixture over the pastry. Cover with all but 2
of the remaining pastry leaves, brushing each very lightly with butter.

11.Fold the overlapping leaves in over the top to cover the pie. Brush
lightly with butter. Put the remaining 2 leaves over the top, lightly
buttering each, and fold these neatly under the pie (like

continued in part 2