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Chicken preparation:

5 pounds chicken legs and thighs

1 cup Italian parsley, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 Spanish onion, grated

Pinch of saffron, crushed to a powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 generous teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 generous teaspoon ground ginger

3 cinnamon sticks

Kosher salt


1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 pound blanched almonds

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Egg layer:

1/4 cup lemon juice

10 large eggs

1/2 pound unsalted butter, divided

1/2 to 3/4 pound phyllo pastry



Chicken preparations:  Rinse off and pat dry the chicken pieces.  Place in a large shallow casserole in a single layer with the parsley, cilantro, onion, spices and half of the butter.  Sprinkle on a 1/2 tablespoon salt and add 3 cups water, or to cover.  Bring liquid to a simmer, cover, and simmer slowly for 1 hour.


Strain the chicken broth from the meat and seasonings.  Reduce the liquid to 1 3/4 cups over high heat. When cool enough to handle, bone the chicken pieces and shred the meat.  Reserve.


Almonds: If the almonds have skins, blanch them in boiling water for 1 minutes, drain, cool and peel first.  Heat the oil in a shallow skillet and lightly brown the nuts.   When cool enough to handle, crush them with a pulsing action in the work bowl of a food processor.  Add the confectioners sugar and cinnamon.  Pulse to mix these ingredients well with the nuts.  Reserve.


Egg layer:  Add the lemon juice to the reduced chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Beat the eggs together well and pour into the simmering liquid stirring continuously until the eggs are set in large, soft curds.  Season to taste with salt and reserve.


Assembly :  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Melt the remaining butter and clarify by removing the foamy casein on top and discarding the milky whey at the bottom.


Unwrap the phyllo leaves taking care to keep those you are not working with covered and damp so they will not dry out.  Fold 4 leaves in half and toast them in the hot oven until they are crispy.  Set them aside.


Take a 12 inch cake or pizza pan and lightly butter it with the clarified butter.  Layer 6 sheets of phyllo centered over the pan allowing excess to  extend over the sides. Lightly butter each sheet as you lay them in the pan. Place a layer of shredded chicken pieces over the bottom of the pan.  Cover the chicken with a layer of well-drained scrambled eggs.  Crush the toasted phyllo sheets over the eggs and scatter on the pulverized almonds.


Fold the overlapping phyllo sheets over the filling brushing each with butter.  Butter two additional phyllo sheets, center them over the pie and wrap the pie by tucking the ends underneath.


Baking and decorating: Bake the Bisteeya for 20 minutes, until the top is brown.  Pour off any excess butter, invert the pie onto a buttered baking pan butter  the pie lightly, and return to the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes to brown the other side.


Tilt the sheet to remove excess butter and invert the pie onto a serving platter.  Dust with confectioners' sugar and run thin criss-cross lines over the surface with ground cinnamon.


Serve hot!