Chicken Basteeya


When I went to get the chicken to make my bisteeya, I wanted to follow the recipe to a T. So I went to the butcher to get a precise amount of chicken in grams. Since I wasn’t sure what one chicken thigh weighed, I took a guess that I might need 3 or 4 thighs. Judging from the reactions I get when ordering things by weight, they don’t get a lot of recipe-testers or cookbook authors shopping at my butcher shop. When the butcher put the poulet fermier thighs on the scale to show me, I wavered, thinking that the quantity looked a bit stingy and perhaps I should get a few extra. Then I started thinking (which often gets me into extra-trouble), “Well, since I’m here, I may as well get a few more.”


So I asked if he could add a few more, to make it five thighs. He started getting confused, and thinking he heard me wrong the first time – because of my American-accented French – he said that I kept changing my mind. (And heck, at this point, even I was getting confused. And maybe you are, too.) So he finally asked me – what did I want, exactly?


I said, “Cooking is about change, monsieur” which elicited a grin and a chuckle from him. Asking about my accent, and wondering where I was from, I said “San Francisco”, then I asked him where he was from. Even though there was a line of shoppers behind me, his reply was to ask me to guess. (No wonder lines are so long in Paris.)

Being a butcher shop in an Arab quartier, I first tried Lebanon, then Afrique du Nord, which he shook he had at. Then I said “Afrique du nord.” He shook his head no, and said that he was from Algeria.

(I didn’t correct him, but I thought Algeria was considered North Africa. So you learn something new every day around here.)


Another thing I learned, courtesy of the fellow standing next to me, who when he heard that I was American, chuckled and expressed surprised out loud that I cooked. Coming from a city with stellar cuisine, much of it made with locally produced ingredients, I turned to him and said, “Yes, Americans cook. And many of them are the best cooks in the world” and turned away. Touché, dude.

basteeya spices and seasonings

Speaking of people from other countries who are fabulous cooks, is Bethany Kehdy. Although she was born in the United States, she spent a good deal of her life in Lebanon with her Lebanese father, cooking with relatives. And I don’t give a hoot where she’s from – she’s a fantastic cook. I went to Lebanon with her and ate amazingly well, including a delicious dinner spread that she prepared. So I am especially excited that she has a cookbook out, Pomegranates and Pine Nuts (titled The Jeweled Kitchen in the United Kingdom), which is one of the few cookbooks I have in my collection that makes me want to make each and every dish in it.

In her introduction, she talks about how Middle Eastern cooking often doesn’t get the same consideration as more lofty cuisines. And that no matter what you do, someone is going to tell you there is a different – or better – way to do it. That’s been my experience as well and there is always a better place to go to, or a better way to cook something.

skinning almonds

Basteeya is often made with pigeon and I distinctly remember my a friend’s mother back when I was a teenager, returning from a trip to Morocco and telling us how she ate pigeon. I was so disgusted – I couldn’t imagine anyone eating pigeon. But to prove that even the most closed-minded of people can change (I’m looking at you, monsieur, in the butcher shop…) pigeon is now one of my favorite foods.


Pigeon is also a nickname for “chump” in France, so much so that when the current President launched initiatives to impose hefty taxes for start-up entrepreneurs, a group who named themselves les pigeons launched an online protest. Although we’ve got no shortage of the winged kind of pigeons in Paris, either, this recipe uses chicken – which is a little easier to track down. Because there are different ways to do just about everything, don’t feel like a pigeon if you use poulet.


Chicken Basteeya
Print Recipe
Four to six servings
Adapted from Pomegranates and Pine Nuts by Bethany Kehdy I used poulet fernier, or farm chicken, whose parts are smaller than their commercial counterparts. Depending on the chicken you have, you’ll need 2 or 3 thighs; you can weigh them for more precise results, if that floats your boat. Bethany’s recipe calls for either ground saffron or turmeric. I used turmeric but if you have saffron on hand, you can certainly use that. This isn’t a complicated dish at all, but does have a few steps that might seem unfamiliar the first time you do it. You can make the filling up through step 5, then refrigerate it overnight.
1 1/4 pounds (600g) chicken thighs (leg and thigh attached), 2 to 3 thighs depending on size
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoon vegetable oil or clarified butter
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 inch (5cm) fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 cups (500ml) water
4 eggs
1 cup (120g) scant blanched almonds (see Note)
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange flower water
Zest of 1 lemon and the juice of 1/2 of the lemon
1/4 cup (15g) chopped parsley
1/4 cup (15g) chopped cilantro
7 sheets of filo dough, thawed, if frozen
5 tablespoons (70g) melted unsalted butter
Additional powdered sugar and cinnamon, for dusting the finished basteeya
1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat the oil or melt the clarified butter in a heavy skillet or sauté pan that has a lid. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent – about 5 minutes.
2. Scrape the onions onto a plate and add the chicken to the pan, skin side down. Cook the chicken until browned on one side, then turn the thighs over, and brown them on the other side. It should take 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Add the onions back to the pan along with the garlic, ginger and turmeric, and cook, stirring, for about a minute to release the fragrance. Add the water, cover, and let the chicken simmer for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
4. Remove the chicken from the stock and let cool. Reduce the pan liquid by half over medium heat. Stir the eggs together in a bowl then pour the eggs into the warm liquid in a steady stream, stirring as they hit the liquid. Keep stirring until the mixture resembles softly scrambled eggs, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and scrape the egg mixture into a bowl. Remove the skin and the meat from the chicken (discard the skin), and shred the chicken into the egg mixture.
5. Grind the almonds in a food processor until they are a coarse consistency, almost to the point where they are about to become a paste. Add the powdered sugar and cinnamon, pulse a couple of times, then add the ground almonds to the chicken mixture along with the orange flower water, lemon zest, and chopped parsley and cilantro. Taste the mixture, and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. (At this point, you can refrigerate the mixture overnight.)
6. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC.) Butter a 12-inch (30cm) baking dish.
7. Unwrap the filo and drape a damp kitchen towel over it to prevent it from drying out as you work. Working quickly, lay one sheet of filo dough over the bottom of the baking dish, coaxing it to line the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Brush the filo with melted butter. Add three more sheets of filo dough, brushing each one with a layer of butter, except for the final one.
8. Spread the filling in the baking dish, then fold the ends of the filo dough over the filling. Brush the exposed pieces of filo dough with melted butter. Top the filling with three sheets of filo dough, brushing the top of each sheet of dough after you place it over the filling.
9. Tuck the edges of the top sheets of filo as best you can under basteeya, trimming the edges if it makes it easier. (You can also just fold them over the top, and press them down.) Brush the top liberally with butter and bake the basteeya for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is well-browned.
Remove from the oven and dust liberally with additional powdered sugar mixed with a generous pinch of cinnamon. Serve with a green salad or tabbouleh.

Note: You can buy almonds already blanched, although I usually keep only regular almonds on hand, so I use those. To skin whole almonds, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the almonds and let cook at a low boil for 1 minutes. Drain the almonds, rinse with cold water, then squeeze the almonds to remove the skins. Toast the nuts on a baking sheet in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven for 8 to 10 minutes, to dry and refresh them.

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  • November 21, 2013 12:24pm

    This sounds great! Unfortunately, I don’t have a food processor here in France despite having been on the lookout for ages…I’m starting to get pretty frustrated with all of the delicious recipes that I can’t make!

    Do you have any advice on French food processors (are they “robots?” “hachoirs?”)?

    And what wattage would be the minimum possible for grinding nuts?

    Thanks David!

  • Katie
    November 21, 2013 1:32pm

    Chicken Basteeya seems like an exotic chicken pot pie! And I’ve been meaning to buy Bethany’s book — is it out in the US yet?
    I wonder if she is taking tours to Lebanon still or if they have been put in hold temporarily? That’s probably one of the top destinations on my list of places I’d love to travel to someday. I’ve heard their food is fabulous and the people especially warm and welcoming.

  • November 21, 2013 2:05pm
    David Lebovitz

    Katie: Yes, Bethany’s book is finally out in the US and it’s pretty great; I love Middle Eastern (and North African) cooking, and this recipe was a winner. Am not sure of the status of her Lebanon tours, as the situation keeps changing. I am happy I went to see it when I did.

    Jess: Because kitchens in Paris are small, for most uses, a mini-chopper will do a good job. I have a little Braun one that doubles as a hand-blender (when space is tight, nice to find a piece of equipment that does double-duty!) I have a full-size KitchenAid food processor which works well, too. Not sure of the wattage but it’s best to always go with the highest offered, in my opinion.

  • November 21, 2013 3:07pm

    Basteeya is such an amazing dish. It’s like eating a main dish and dessert at the same time. I’ve been making the recipe from Ruth Reichl’s “Tender at the Bone” for years and it’s always a huge hit when we have friends over for dinner. It’s a little different than Bethany’s recipe here, which I’ll try out and compare :-)

  • Maria del mar
    November 21, 2013 4:25pm

    the experience at the butcher was funny although my favorite part was when you told the Customer next to you that Americans are the best cooks in the world. Touché. amesome, BTW fabulous recipe. I can’t wait to try it home. This was the first plate I had when I started dating my French boyfriend for whom I moved to Paris for.

    • November 21, 2013 4:39pm
      David Lebovitz

      Well, I said “some” of the best cooks. It’s funny that people think just because someone is from a certain country, they must either be a good cook, or a bad cook. Much of that is perpetrated by the image of fast-food restaurants, which is often the only reference people have to America – the “farm-to-table” and artisan foods don’t get imported, nor is the produce from regional farmer’s markets, so they don’t see that. Fortunately a number of people travel and do experience the good food (and likely, some of the bad) … which is true just about anywhere.

  • Alexandra
    November 21, 2013 5:18pm

    Thanks for this delicious looking recipe. I always order bisteeya when I see it on the menu. I might try almond meal instead of grinding my own blanched almonds. Do you think that would be an appropriate substitute? Or perhaps it will be too fine…. Will let you know how it goes.

  • Mery
    November 21, 2013 5:19pm

    Hi, very inttesting recipe, i wonder how the sweetness of sugar combine with the “sauvage” taste of the chicken, band thought that maybe it was the le on juice, that madre the magic, bit I van not point in wich spot of the recipe you used it? Thank you for sharing and wonderful photos!

  • Mery
    November 21, 2013 5:27pm

    Sorry, I meant lemon juice…

  • November 21, 2013 5:35pm

    While I do love chicken pastilla (as they pronounce and spell it here in Morocco), I am bombarded with seafood pastilla at every turn. Are you a fan of the fishy variety?

  • November 21, 2013 5:57pm

    I laughed about your purchase! I had a little “encounter” with the head butcher at a health food store where I buy much of my organic grassfed/pastured meat and poultry. I told him it would be helpful if the ground meat was packaged in more even weights, and he got a little huffy about it. Once I smoothed his ruffled feathers, he gave me a perfectly sensible explanation of why they can’t do that.

  • Cindy Allen
    November 21, 2013 6:03pm

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! Touche dude- LOVE IT!

  • Martha
    November 21, 2013 6:20pm

    Thanks very much for this recipe! There was a place in ‘L’Enfants Rouges’ market on Rue Bretanne that served little pastelles – a traingular pastry filled with chicken/vermicelli/quail’s egg. Wonder if that place is still there.

  • Ana
    November 21, 2013 6:23pm

    This looks delicious! Unfortunately I’m celiac, so can’t eat filo – any suggestions for substitutes that won’t destroy the dish? I’m thinking mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes for more of a shepherd’s pie experience, or possibly corn puree (as in the Chilean pastel de choclo – it’s rustic and delicious), but they won’t give the flakiness of filo and would make the overall texture a bit mushy. Rice paper wrappers? Gluten-free lasagna noodles? I’d love other ideas (and cautions)!

    • November 21, 2013 6:27pm
      David Lebovitz

      You could probably do something with rice paper. In her book, Bethany wraps the filling in cylinders of filo and bakes them. I don’t have a lot of experience with rice paper, except steaming it. Another alternative (and it would definitely fall into the “fusion” category) are corn tortillas since the slightly sweet filling might go well with the cornmeal. With a dab of harissa (hot sauce) it might be good! : )

      • Karen
        November 21, 2013 8:43pm

        Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll try rice paper.

  • November 21, 2013 6:25pm

    Looks fabulous! In Morocco we never use garlic with sweet dishes like this one, but I am curious to try it in my next Bastila, Basteeya, pastilla…:) I have a blog post about how my family makes it in Morocco on my sillyapron blog if you are interested. Also, this is the first time I see the dish presented in an oval form, which is interesting. In Morocco it’s always served like around pie dish but that’s probably because tables in Morocco are around and people sit around the table and share the Bastila using their fingers from the same central dish.

  • Avery
    November 21, 2013 6:35pm

    Have you tried Persian cooking? The khoreshes are marvelous! My favorite Persian cookbook is Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies by Najmieh Batmanglij.

  • November 21, 2013 6:40pm

    Would love to have been in that butcher shop watching that exchange David – I will definitely be getting Bethany’s book since I also love Middle Eastern food. I agree that ME food doesn’t get the same consideration as other cuisines – but with Bethany’s book and those by Ottolenghi, I think it’s becoming more mainstream – and it’s about time IMO since so many of the dishes aren’t that complicated to make and deliver amazing flavor AND are, in general, very nutritious! Truth be told, it’s one of my favorite sections to teach in my Cultural Foods class!!!

  • November 21, 2013 7:06pm

    This dish reminds me of some dishes my college Persian friends would make. I love the idea of filo here, and stick with chicken.

  • Christine
    November 21, 2013 7:06pm

    This sounds so interesting! I am relatively new to middle eastern cooking, though not for long, having picked up Jerusalem-everything looks good in that one! I will scope out the source book here too! Could you speak a little more to how this tastes? I’m a little afraid of the orange water/cinnamon/sugar/almonds combo (sounds like great cookies!). You said slightly sweet. Could you (someone) tell me more about this combination of flavours? I have never had anything like this-my imagination goes to a very sweet place! When we travelled in Istanbul animal protein often appeared in kabobs.

  • Mary
    November 21, 2013 7:19pm

    I would LOVE to make this, but I have an SO with nut allergies. Do you think that pepitas would be a good substitute for the almonds? Toasted? Or sunflower seeds?
    Thanks – I’ve been looking for a new purpose for my big bottle of orange flower water…

  • November 21, 2013 7:21pm

    David..I’m just here to tell you Bravo :).

    I’m Moroccan who developed a serious allergy to those who fiddle with Moroccan recipes while claiming they’re making authentic stuff. I was sooo worried that you turn to one of them (I love this blog). Thank God you are still my favourite blogger out there :).

    However, you live in Paris, you could have managed to find warqa/ brik sheets..Or just make them at home (dead easy if you use the painting brush)..On the other hand, if you are happy with big chunks of chicken inside the pie that’s fine..but usually their smaller than that..

    Overall, I hope you enjoyed it. It’s always a pleasure to read your post..

  • Divya-Ella
    November 21, 2013 7:33pm

    hey i love how this looks that i wanna make it. since im from india, we dont get filo pastry commonly. is there by chance anything else i could use to substitute or by chance a recipe i could follow to make it myself? thanks!

  • November 21, 2013 7:36pm
    David Lebovitz

    Mary: You could likely use sunflower seeds as they are similar in texture. Pumpkin might be too strong. And you could cut back on them as well – I think sunflower seeds are quite oily as well, so careful chopping them. Enjoy!

    Avery: Yes, a friend of mine made a Persian dinner for me a few months ago in London and it was great. My grandfather was also Syrian, so we did have some of that food growing up. I love it, too.

    Nada: Most cuisines and dishes get adapted as time goes by – and folks have different access to ingredients. I’d rather have someone make a dish even if they can’t get a certain ingredient (like pigeon) than forgo the whole thing altogether. I used to get amazing filo dough in San Francisco from a bakery that made it, which has long since closed, which kind of spoils you forever.

    Nancy: Middle Eastern food is sometimes considered similar to some Asian foods, where people expect it to be cheap or not refined. I’ve had the most amazing Chinese food of my life that was so well-prepared, it would have put any other chef to shame. Good food is really about flavor and how things taste – I happen to like all the flavors that go into most Middle Eastern and North African foods (even the pigeon) so the food especially appeals to me, too.

    asmae: I’ve also seen Basteeya folded up into a dish and fried on each side. In her book, Bethany, wraps portions of the filling in “snakes” of filo, and bakes them in a spiral, which is interesting as well.

  • November 21, 2013 7:53pm

    I was once told by a woman in a cafe, here in Illinois, I am from New Zealand, that I spoke very good american. I opened and then shut my mouth and made do with a smile.
    Lovely lovely recipe, i shall find the book too I think. And though I have pigeons loitering in my barn, I might just pull a few of my own pasture raised chickens from the freezer. i keep them for only the very best of chicken recipes. Have a glorious parisian day.. c

  • Karen
    November 21, 2013 8:06pm

    I used to love making and eating basteeya before a diagnosis of celiac disease. Do you know of a suitable alternative to phyllo dough?

  • Philip
    November 21, 2013 8:14pm

    I’ve successfully used green or white pumpkin seeds to thicken soups and chilis. Treat them the same way you would the almonds in this recipe– should be lovely.

  • Caroline
    November 21, 2013 8:19pm

    This recipe looks amazing! And now I have a savory dish to make with my orange flower water, which has only gone into clafoutis so far.

    And thank you for the wonderful Sicily posts!! Very timely, as we are currently planning our trip there for April.

  • November 21, 2013 8:21pm

    The first and only time, until now that is, I encountered Bisteeya was about a quarter of century ago when reading James McNair’s cookbook titled, Chicken. His version was a savoury pastry-pillow dusted with sifted powdered sugar and cinnamon set on a platter and filled with most of the ingredients you used but with the addition of apricot nectar. I have never forgotten that beauty. Bisteeya has such a fantastic melange of flavours! I vow that I will make this fairly soon.

  • Ana
    November 21, 2013 8:22pm

    Thank you, David, for the g-f ideas – I think I’ll try it with rice paper wrappers on one half and white corn tortillas on the other. And harissa. Definitely harissa.

  • November 21, 2013 8:37pm

    The crust is what gets me. All of that phyllo layered up looks divine!

  • sarahb1313
    November 21, 2013 8:41pm

    This looks lovely- and anything with a middle-eastern twist will bring a grin to the faces at my table. Even my one friend who can’t stand cumin, even the smell (I know- I don’t get it) and misses out on all those fabulous flavors!!

    Regarding the pigeon- when in Savoie this fall, there was a dish on the prix fixe menu that was like a “pigeon wellington”- the breast with foie gras en croute- and I really struggled with whether or not to have it. Being from NYC I have a slightly different perspective on the bird. I ate it a bit apprehensively. It was OK (actually the problem with the dish was that to poppy seeds on the pastry were so heavy that they overpowered the whole flavor of the dish). So, I think I will stick to the chicken as you have written :-)

  • Meryl
    November 21, 2013 8:49pm

    Once upon a long time ago it was my boyfriend’s turn to cook and he had chosen something from Veg Epicure I or II (now you know how long ago!) which called for blanched (which was explained as peeled) almonds. I came home to find him with a large pile of almonds with their skins on, a vegetable peeler, and 3 carefully peeled almonds. It was so sad. So, I explained how to easily “peel” almonds and we did not have to wait until midnight to eat. I love basteeya and this recipe looks approachable even though I am unreasonably scared of filo.

    • November 22, 2013 1:20am
      David Lebovitz

      Ha! That’s a great story. It reminds me of the person who was trying to find “powdered sherry” – because a recipe said “dry sherry.” Thanks for the chuckle (at your boyfriend’s expense!)

  • November 21, 2013 9:05pm

    Kudos on waging a one-man war on French perceptions of Americans cooking ;)
    You may want to try ‘le Maghreb’ next time instead of Afrique du Nord (I’m a geographically challenged North American who has simply learned to parrot the way the French say things.)

  • Jennifer
    November 22, 2013 1:30am

    David, would there be any harm in using pre-ground almonds?

    • November 22, 2013 10:44am
      David Lebovitz

      I think they’re too fine – you want the almonds to retain a bit of their crunch, so grinding your own ensures that they’re not powdery.

  • charles johnson
    November 22, 2013 1:33am

    What sexy, firm thighs you got (at the butcher shop)!

  • latafiolesucree
    November 22, 2013 2:35am

    i’m shocked. you don’t raise and slaughter your own chickens on your rooftop? what would martha say?

  • johanna
    November 22, 2013 3:21am

    wow!! THAT looks amazing!!!!
    It’s getting cold up here in Northern CA, and this is perfectly what I want to eat–
    lovely!! thank you-
    I only hope mine will come out looking that good :P

  • November 22, 2013 4:35am

    I own (and love!) Bethany’s book (which I still like to call The Jewelled Kitchen) and made the chicken basteeya as well. What a beautiful and tasty dish it was. I have a long list of recipes to try bookmarked>

  • ault
    November 22, 2013 12:46pm

    Dusting a chicken dish with powdered sugar reminds me of a taste from my childhood: Chilean “pastel de choclo”. Well worth a taste if you’ve never tried it.

  • Bricktop
    November 22, 2013 4:19pm

    I would have channeled my inner Jesse Pinkman and replied ““Yes, Americans cook. And many of them are the best cooks in the world. Bitch!”

  • November 22, 2013 5:09pm

    This will definitely add to my favorite chicken dishes I have turned into pies like Chicken Divan, Moo Goo Gai Pan, Tom Yum Chicken, Chicken Cacciatore and Korean Ginger Chicken. There is something about chicken that absorbs the flavor of the sauce so well that makes it very ideal for pies.

  • Lynette
    November 22, 2013 7:50pm

    After reading this recipe yesterday, I happened to be at Les Enfants Rouge marche for lunch. As soon as I spotted the chicken pastilla, had to give it a go after all the delicious discussions! I was not disappointed. I’ve not had a lot of exposure to Middle eastern food, and am happily on a new path of discovery.

  • November 23, 2013 3:46am

    I’m sorry to be a pedant, but several people have described pastilla as Middle Eastern, when it is Moroccan, at the very extreme west of the Maghreb. Maghreb refers to the setting sun, the “Far West” of the Arab-speaking world.

    My friends in Paris are well aware of Californian cuisine. But jerks like your fellow shopper are universal. Those chicken legs look wonderful…

  • Ann
    November 23, 2013 10:04am

    David, years ago I took a cooking class from the chef of the now defunct Hajjibaba in Honolulu. He showed us how to make this and he recommended using the Filipino lumpia wrappers (the big round opaque ones) instead of filo dough. They are bit more sturdier than filo and I recall just using 6 and letting them overlap (in a 8 inch frying pan) add the filling then folding the overlapping wrappers over the filling. It was fantastic and had major crunch factor!

  • Sarah
    November 23, 2013 2:12pm

    Hi David!
    I’ve been reading your blog religiously since having first moved to Paris 3 years ago. I’m American as well and often come to your blog first when I have a question of where to find a certain hard to find ingredient in France. My question is, where to find phyllo dough? I can easily find bricks in every supermarket, but have only found phyllo once, at a Greek stand in an international marché that’s held once a year in my neighborhood. I still have it in the freezer waiting for a special recipe to use it ( this may be it ) since I’m afraid I won’t be able to find it again. I would appreciate any suggestions! My boyfriend brought a chicken pastilla home one day that a work colleague had brought back with them from Morocco that day and I’d love to try to recreate the exotic flavors at home! Thanks!

    • November 23, 2013 2:20pm
      David Lebovitz

      Any store that sells Middle Eastern (or Oriental, as they say) products should carry it. I got mine at Sabah (30, rue d’Aligre) – there are Middle Eastern markets in most neighborhoods, including Belleville and the rue des Entrepreneurs (15th) as well.

  • Sarah
    November 23, 2013 2:25pm

    Thanks so much David! This will be my weekend project! Bon week-end!

  • November 23, 2013 3:44pm

    Yet another great and detailed recipe from you.
    I was just wondering what to do with chicken I just bought. I live in Israel and all the ingredients you mentioned are in abundance here, so it’s now time to order them from the supermarket and cook… Thank you!

  • Molly
    November 23, 2013 4:01pm

    Hi David,
    Seeking a recommendation — Which home made ice cream recipe to serve on Thanksgiving with Apple Pie? Cinnamon, buttermilk, creme fraiche? Other?
    Thank you,

  • Evelien
    November 24, 2013 9:13am

    Hi David, what a great recipe! I tried it last week and it’s the best version I ever tasted. I made a small adjustment though: instead of one big pie, I used a cupcake mold and made 12 mini pastillas. This way, there’s more “crunch” with every bite. Lovely!

  • November 24, 2013 1:15pm

    Oh, this chicken basteeya sounds wonderful. Never had it, but a must try. Between turmeric and saffron, is it either one of them or can I use both? I have both in my pantry.

  • November 24, 2013 6:27pm
    David Lebovitz

    Molly: I did cinnamon ice cream this year. So cinnamon it is ~

    Lail: You could use both – as they’re nice flavors together. You can use 1/4 teaspoon of each.

    Evelien: Good idea!

  • Paula Wolfert
    November 25, 2013 7:58pm

    Looks good:). My only comment IMHO :ground ginger rather than fresh makes a silkier textured bisteeya.

  • terri
    November 26, 2013 2:08am

    Thanks for sharing the recipe–I’m always looking for new Middle Eastern recipes.

    BTW, I’m no expert, but I’m wondering if your Algerian butcher didn’t consider himself North African, because before the Algerian War, Algeria was considered (administratively) to be a “department” of France?

  • Antoinette
    November 30, 2013 9:54pm

    Will be making this today with leftover turkey! What a great alternative to soup :)

  • BelleD
    December 1, 2013 4:44am

    What a coincidence! I made chicken bastilla recently. I had some at a friend’s engagement party. They had the food catered from La Mediterranee in SF and the chicken bastilla, which La Med calls “chicken cecilia”, was fantastic. So much so, that I had to make it myself.

  • Julie
    December 3, 2013 12:49am

    I look forward to trying this over my winter break. I may bring it to a family potluck. Must I go with an oval dish? Which shape would work best with the phyllo dough? Any suggestions?

    Also, do you think that I could prepare the dish in advance and bake it at the last minute? What about reheating it?

    Thank you! I love your blog.

    • December 3, 2013 8:44am
      David Lebovitz

      In her book, Bethany makes the basteeya in circular rolls, and provides instructions for making it that way. You can assemble the dish in any shaped pan, refrigerate it, then bring it to room temperature and bake it when ready. Enjoy!

  • borisa
    December 5, 2013 3:14pm

    This is just right for me because I am huge chicken lover. Usually chicken meat is kinda not to much juicy but with right ingredients final result can be great just like in this dish. Thank you for great idea. I will definitely cook this over the weekend.

  • Amy
    December 13, 2013 3:40am

    Is there another option besides the phyllo dough? I can’t eat wheat or sugar, and while the recipe handled a swap of sugar for an alternative sweetener as well as a swap of goat and cow butter, I had a disaster when I tried to make buckwheat phyllo dough from scratch! But thanks for a great recipe. It has such a lovely aroma and it tastes wonderful.

    • Julie
      December 13, 2013 7:02am

      Hi Amy,

      A friend of mine recently made spanikopita with spelt phyllo dough. I didn’t notice a difference. She probably picked it up at our local food co-op. Good luck!