Bisteeya is a type of sweet and savory pie common in Moroccan cuisine. It is made from an outer layer of puffed dough (usually phyllo) enveloping a filling of shredded meat, eggs, ground almonds, and spices.
I have slightly modernized the recipe for Bisteeya to create individual-sized "pies" rather than one large pie. These mini-pies make great appetizers if made in a mini-muffin tin, or are perfect for dinner if made in standard-sized muffin tins.
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, shredded in a food processor
3/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 lb. blanched almonds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 sheets of phyllo dough (1/3 pound)
1 sticks unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Filling: Melt butter in large sauté pan. Add chopped onion. Cook on medium heat until begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, saffron, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper and cook 1 more minute. Add chicken and cook over low heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add chopped raisins and then slowly add the beaten eggs, stirring constantly until set, about 2-3 minutes. Mixture looks curdled. Transfer the filling to a bowl to cool. Stir in the chopped parsley and cilantro.
Topping: Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and saute the almonds until lightly browned. Remove, drain on paper towels, chop and combine with cinnamon and powdered sugar.
Bisteeya "crusts": Place 1 sheet phyllo on dry surface. Keep remaining dough moist with damp towel. Brush with melted butter. Top with second sheet, brush with butter. Finish with third sheet, brush with butter. Cut out a 3-inch circle. Sprinkle circle with the cinnamon sugar topping. Transfer the circle in a mini muffin tin.
Once a muffin tin is full, transfer to the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and fill each cup with chicken filling and return to the oven for 5 more minutes to heat through. Remove from oven, sprinkle remaining topping on each pie, return to oven for 2 more minutes until the topping has browned.
Sprinkle each pie with more cinnamon and garnish each basket with a sprig of cilantro, serve immediately!