Moroccan B'Steeya

B'Steeya is served throughout much of North Africa on special occasions; it's layered with buttery phyllo dough and finished with a dusting of sugar and cinnamon. We used ginger, saffron-spiced chicken, and sugared almonds in the filling for our version.

  • Servings: 8
Moroccan B'Steeya

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 2005


  • 1 whole roaster chicken, about 4 pounds, cut into 8 pieces
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus 1/2 cup melted (1 1/2 sticks total)
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups blanched whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup orange-flower water
  • 1 package (17 ounces) store-bought phyllo dough


  1. Put chicken and 1/3 cup salt in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Refrigerate 1 hour. Rinse chicken with cold water; pat dry. Mix chicken, onion, garlic, saffron, ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 cup parsley, and 1/4 cup cilantro in a large bowl; cover, and refrigerate overnight.

  2. Transfer chicken mixture to a medium-heavy pot. Add enough water to cover (about 4 cups). Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Add 1/4 cup butter; cover, and simmer until chicken is falling off the bone, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, adding water to cover if necessary. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool. Reserve poaching liquid. Remove meat from bones and shred; discard skin and bones. Set chicken aside.

  3. Bring reserved poaching liquid to a boil over high heat; cook until reduced to 3/4 cup. Reduce heat to medium high. Slowly add eggs; whisk constantly until mixture is almost set, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup parsley, 1/4 cup cilantro, and the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

  4. Stir together almonds, sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.

  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 13-inch paella or pizza pan with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Stir together remaining melted butter and the orange-flower water in small bowl. Assemble b'steeya: Brush a sheet of phyllo with butter mixture. Put in pan, leaving a 4-inch overhang. Repeat, adding and buttering 7 more sheets of phyllo, overlapping layers and fanning out around pan. (Keep unbuttered phyllo covered with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel.)

  6. Arrange chicken mixture over dough. Pour in egg mixture. Top with 5 layers phyllo brushed with butter mixture. Sprinkle with almond mixture. Fold up edges of phyllo to enclose. Top with 5 layers phyllo brushed with butter mixture; tuck edges inside pan. Slightly crinkle 2 unbuttered phyllo over top. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Cook's Notes

Season the chicken a day ahead so it has time to absorb the flavors.


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