It ain’t over til the Turkey Bisteeya sings!

ingredients for Bisteeya, minus the turkey carcass but plus one very furry Schilling

We’ve enjoyed turkey every way since Thanksgiving – delicious Turkey Wild Rice & Pumpkin Soup, open-faced hot turkey sandwiches, Turkey Hash, incredible turkey sandwiches…But the last hurrah for the turkey in Wing and a Prayer’s kitchen is to be magicked into delicious Turkey Bisteeya.  Enjoy this little scrapbook – it covers most of the steps(minus brushing the butter on all those layers of Phylo dough!)  Turkey’s last call:

into the stockpot goes the carcass, onions, lemons and cinnamon sticks

whisking the eggs with the turkey/lemon/cinnamon broth

toasted almonds

grinding the toasted almonds, cinnamon, sugar, and lemon rind in the processor

dry scramble the eggs with the broth

the ingredients, ready for assembly

the rest of the almond mixture, save 3 tablespoons, goes on top

pouring 1/2 cup of broth over all

the last layers of Phylo on top

beautiful-out of the oven in 30 minutes

Turkey Bisteeya

And now because we need to give credit, where credit is due, this is the recipe that we’ve used for all these many years of festive Bisteeya(I am so tempted to try it with pigeon!):

Turkey Bisteeya

From “The New Basics Cookbook” by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins

Bisteeya, the great classical dish of Morocco, is one of the most spectacular dishes in the world.  Traditionally it is a pigeon pie with eggs, almonds, lemon juice, an array of spices—all enclosed in a crackly crust of paper-thin layers of pastry wrapped up like a present.  We’ve made it for parties for years, always with chicken, but why not turkey?

We usually serve this with Oranges Orientales or a bowl of pomegranate seeds on the side.  A light Beaujolais or a Gamay-Beaujolais makes the occasion even more festive.

4 cups water

Zest of 1 lemon, cut into 8 strips

1 ½ teaspoons salt

2 small onions

1 cinnamon stick, 6 inches long

1 pound uncooked boneless turkey thigh, well rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 3 pieces

6 eggs

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

5 ounces sliced almonds (about ¾ cup), toasted

1 ½ tablespoons sugar

14 sheets(each 13 x 9”) Phylo dough, thawed if frozen

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

  1. Combine the water, 2 strips of the lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of the salt, onions, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, cover, and cook 10 minutes.
  2. Add the turkey, lower the heat, and simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat, and let the turkey stand in the liquid until it is cool enough to handle.
  3. Reserve the cooking liquid.  Shred the turkey and cut the onions into slivers.  Set them aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon of the ground cinnamon, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, the pepper, and ½ cup of the turkey cooking liquid.
  5. Cook the egg mixture in a nonstick skillet over low heat, stirring, until dry clumps form, 3 to 4 minutes.  Drain in a colander or strainer.
  6. Combine the almonds, the remaining 6 strips of the lemon zest, the sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a food processor.  Process until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.  Set aside.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter a baking sheet
  8. Arrange 1 sheet of the Phylo on the prepared baking sheet.  Brush it with some of the melted butter, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the almond mixture.  Repeat with seven more sheets of Phylo, buttering and sprinkling almond mixture between them.  Butter the top sheet.
  9. Bake the Phylo layers 10 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly.  Leave the oven on.
  10. Sprinkle the turkey and onion over the Phylo, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges.  Cover with the drained egg mixture.
  11. Set aside about 3 tablespoons of the almond filling.  Sprinkle the remainder over the egg mixture.  Slowly pour ½ cup of the turkey cooking liquid over the egg mixture.
  12. Cover the filling with 6 more sheets of phyllo, again brushing with melted butter and sprinkling 1 teaspoon almond mixture between the sheets.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining almond mixture.
  13. Bake until golden and crisp, 30 minutes.  Let the bisteeya stand 5 minutes before cutting it into squares and serving.
  14. Turkey Bisteeya and succulent grapefruit paired well