One of my family’s favorite dinners is anything Moroccan. I think part of this is because we sit on the floor propped up by big, decorative pillows and eat with our hands! But another part is all the delicious food Morocco has to offer. This is why my company Passport Dinners began: to help others offer these types of tastes of the world to their friends and families without grabbing your passport and taking off.
We have been throwing Moroccan parties for years so we have dozens of recipes. Not all are easily put together and would be difficult for me to put into a DIY dinner kit. One of these recipes is bisteeya, which can come in either a sweet or savory variety, and is often served at the beginning of a Moroccan feast. It is a type of meat pie traditionally prepared with squab, but chicken is commonly used as a substitute. Though I have been served a bisteeya filled with peaches and other fruits, I prefer the savory style which is salty, spice-filled, and a little sweet all at the same time, with a crunchy crust made of phyllo dough brushed with melted butter.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl combine the following ingredients:
- 4 lb. chicken, roasted and shredded (can use a store-bought roasted chicken)
- 1-1/2 cups onions, chopped coarsely
- 1 cup parsley, chopped
- 1 T. garlic, minced
- 1-1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- pinch of saffron
To begin to shape your bisteeya you need a package of phyllo dough and at least 1/2 cup butter, melted.
On a baking sheet or baking stone begin to lay out your phyllo sheets, 2 sheets at a time, brushing each 2 sheets of phyllo with butter, in an overlapping pattern as in a clock at 12:00, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, 8:00, and 10:00. When overlapped phyllo is ready, fill the center with the savory chicken mixture. Begin to fold each section of phyllo towards the center and twist decoratively in the center.
Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cut into wedges and serve, or as my family does it, dig in with your fingers and savor every mouthful!