This Moroccan appetizer is a layered pie of eggs, chicken and almonds, all encased in a crispy pastry. Bisteeya is eaten by hand.


Makes 6 servings


1 cup butter or margarine, divided
2 cups slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sugar
Ground cinnamon
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
6 eggs, beaten
1 package (16 ounces) frozen phyllo dough, thawed
1 tablespoon powdered sugar


  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add almonds. Cook and stir 12 to 15 minutes or until almonds are golden. Remove almonds with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Cool. Coarsely chop almonds. Combine almonds, sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in small bowl; set aside.
  2. Melt 1-1/2 teaspoons butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Transfer chicken to plate; set aside.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon butter and onion to same skillet. Cook and stir over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, cilantro, garlic, cumin, saffron, pepper and turmeric. Cook and stir 1 minute or until spices are fragrant. Stir in water and bring to a boil. Add chicken; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.
  4. Remove chicken with slotted spoon; cool slightly. Cut into small pieces and toss with 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
  5. Increase heat to medium-high. Simmer onion mixture, stirring frequently, until most liquid has evaporated but mixture is still moist. Reduce heat to medium. Pour eggs into onion mixture. Cook and stir until eggs are softly set. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Set aside.
  6. Melt remaining butter in small saucepan over low heat. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush pizza pan or rimmed baking sheet generously with butter.
  7. Unroll phyllo dough. Cover with plastic wrap and damp, clean kitchen towel to prevent dough from drying out. Arrange 10 or 12 phyllo dough sheets in pinwheel fashion, pivoting each sheet around center point of pan and brushing each sheet with melted butter.
  8. Fold 1 phyllo dough sheet in half crosswise; brush top with butter and place in center of pinwheel.
  9. Arrange chicken in 9-inch circle over phyllo dough. Spoon egg mixture evenly over top of chicken. Top with reserved almonds. Fold over phyllo dough sheets onto top of filling.
  10. Repeat pinwheel pattern over top with 10 to 12 more phyllo sheets, brushing each sheet with melted butter. Gently lift pie and tuck under phyllo edges. Brush top of pie with butter.
  11. Bake pie 20 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven; pour off any excess butter.
  12. Butter another rimmed baking sheet; place over pie; invert. Remove top pan and return pie to oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven; pour off any excess butter.
  13. To serve, place serving platter over pie and invert. Sift powdered sugar over top of pie, then sprinkle with cinnamon.


If phyllo dough tears, place better edges toward center of pie; torn edges will be folded over top or tucked under.

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