Serves: Makes 8 to 10 servings
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter s
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 12 bone-in chicken thighs, (about 3 pounds) fat and excess skin trimmed
- Coarse salt
- 2 cups water
- 1 leafy sprig cilantro, plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped
- 1 leafy sprig italian parsley, plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 4 large eggs
- 1⁄4 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 cups whole blanched almonds
- 1⁄4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 box (1 pound) phyllo dough, thawed overnight
- In the refrigerator if frozen (12 x 17 inches)
- In an 8-quart Dutch oven, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the chicken and sprinkle evenly with 2 teaspoons of salt. Add the water, cilantro and parsley sprigs, saffron, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, and turmeric. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Turn the chicken in the juices and cook for 15 minutes more, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the pan from the heat and let the chicken cool in the broth.
- Set a large strainer over a 3- or 4-quart saucepan and strain the chicken from the broth. Discard the seasonings. Tear or cut the chicken into 1⁄2-inch pieces and place in a bowl. (If cooking the chicken in advance, dampen it with a little of the broth, cover, and refrigerate.) Bring the chicken broth to a gentle boil.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. Adjust the heat under the broth to low and slowly stir the eggs into the simmering broth. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the eggs are set in small curds. Set a strainer over a bowl and drain the eggs. Discard the broth. Add the cooked eggs, chopped parsley and cilantro, 1⁄4 cup of the confectioners' sugar, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a generous grinding of pepper to the chicken pieces. Stir gently to combine.
- Keep the clarified butter warm, not hot.
- make the aLmond mixture: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the almonds in a cake pan or other shallow pan and toast for 6 to 8 minutes, until toasted. Pour onto a plate and let cool. Turn the oven temperature to 400°F.
- In a food processor, combine the cooled almonds, the confectioners' sugar, and the cinnamon, and grind the almonds finely. Set aside.
- use a silicone brush to coat the sides and bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with some of the clarified butter. Lay the phyllo sheets flat on a work surface, count out 16 sheets, and place in a separate stack. using a 12- inch lid or dish as a template, cut through the 16 sheets with kitchen scissors or a pizza cutter to make 12-inch circles. Cover the circles with a sheet of plastic wrap. Dampen a kitchen towel, squeeze it dry, and lay it over the plastic wrap. Wrap any remaining phyllo sheets and return to the refrigerator for another use.
- Lift 4 round sheets of phyllo, one at a time, from the stack and lightly brush each sheet with the clarified butter. Transfer the stack of 4 buttered sheets to the buttered pan, pressing along the bottom and partially up the sides of the pan. Spread half of the almond mixture on top of the buttered phyllo sheets. Lift 4 more sheets of phyllo, one at a time, from the stack and lightly brush each sheet with butter. Transfer this stack to the pan covering the almond layer and press the edges up the sides of the pan. Arrange all of the chicken mixture evenly on top. Lift 4 more sheets of phyllo, one at a time, from the stack and lightly brush each sheet with butter. Transfer the stack to the pan covering the chicken mixture and press the edges up the sides of the pan. Spread with the remaining almond mixture. One at a time, butter the final 4 sheets of phyllo and stack. Transfer to the pan covering the almond mixture. With the rounded end of a table knife or small spatula, push the excess phyllo from around the edges down along the sides of the pan.
- Wrap the bottom of the pan with a large sheet of aluminum foil to prevent leakage, then place in the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the phyllo is a dark golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Set the pan on a kitchen towel or a triple layer of paper towels, run a thin knife or spatula down along the edges of the pan to loosen the pastry, release the catch, and lift off the sides. Blot any excess butter from the bottom of the pan and transfer to a round platter.
- Put 1 tablespoon of confectioners' sugar in a small strainer, and dust the top of the bisteeya with the sugar. Cut into thin wedges and serve.