What's Cooking in Carolina?

Mainly creative menus and recipes (usually healthy) and always from scratch with tips for party planning, theme parties, weddings and decorating tips so you can give swank parties or dinners to delight your guests from a part time caterer, owner/operator of a coming soon Entree Vous, but mainly a cook and eater who grows much of her own food and loves to laugh.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Basteeya (Chicken Pie in Phyllo)

Too much fast food! We've been out and about and even a few days of running around and stopping to pick up a bite along the way is too much fast food for me. I whole heartedly support the Slow Food movement, particularly because I sincerely appreciate fresh, local ingredients and hope to be an active part of it but having a product, like the muscadine fruit leathers we are working on, or I might even get involved in a related franchise operation.

Anyway, on the slow food topic, I made Basteeya this week for the first time in years. It is one of the best dishes out of Morocco, a wonderful chicken pie.
The first time I made it was with my sister-in-law, Tooie, when she lived in Conn. It must have been more than 12 years ago. The recipe we used was from Claudia Roden's The Book of Middle Eastern Food. When I saw the recipe in From Tapas to Meze (by Joanne Weir), I remembered cooking it with Tooie, gave her a ring (now in MD) to tell her I was trying it again, after all these years. She remembered it too, in fact, she said "remember the cinnamon and powered sugar and what a wonderful complexity it adds too the dish?" She asked who I was having over to dinner (no one but us) because of how long it takes to make.

Anyway, you cook chicken pieces with onions and spices until it is well cooked (kind of poached), cool it, removing the skin and bones, cutting the chicken in small pieces. You add beat up eggs to the remaining broth, cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed. You add this to the chicken with cilantro and it becomes the base for a pie that is made here (US) with phyllo. After you layer the bottom of the pie with phyllo and add the chicken and egg mixture, you add almonds (poached then roasted and bathed with a mixture of cinnamon and almonds) then top with more phyllo and bake. It is served with a dusting of powdered sugar and cinnamon and it is too die for! It is very, very good, even though the prep takes awhile. And it is beautiful as well. Definitely something you could serve at a dinner party. We'll just have to have it for lunch! Definitely a better lunch than you can get out, don't you know?

You'll definitely have to try it sometime. It is quite a treat. Check out our website for more recipes: More Swank Recipes


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