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Moroccan Shredded Chicken Pastry (Bistilla)
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Bistilla is popular in North Africa, including Morocco. This recipe is kosher, replacing the butter typically used, with parve margarine. You can use olive oil as well, though the texture is different. A great shortcut, if you're not used to working with phyllo dough, is to use a parve butter flavored cooking spray. This dish has a long cooking time so make it well ahead of time.

Serves: 8

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Sephardic Meat Entree

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1 whole cut-up chicken (or 3 lbs. skinless boneless breast)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. ground saffron
2 tbl. vegetable oil
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-1/2 cups water
5 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tbl. confectioners sugar
2 pinches of cinnamon
Black pepper, to taste
1 cup ground almonds
1 lb phyllo dough
8 oz. parve margarine, melted


  1. Combine onion, parsley, cilantro, turmeric, saffron, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, ginger and cinnamon.
  2. Place chicken pieces in a roasting pan and add water. Add spice and herb mixture, putting some on the chicken. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 1-1/2 hours.
  3. Remove the chicken from roasting pan and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove skin and discard, and shred meat with your hands. Discard bones.
  4. Remove some of the liquid from the roasting pan (it should be a mix of water and chicken fat) and transfer to a medium-sized sauce pan. Bring liquid to a simmer and add eggs, 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar, pinch of cinnamon and pepper, to taste. Cook until sauce thickens, then set aside.
  5. Place a sheet of phyllo dough in an oiled 8-inch pie plate. Brush lightly with margarine. Repeat to add seven more sheets.
  6. Combine ground almonds, pinch of cinnamon and remaining confectioners sugar and sprinkle on the top sheet of phyllo dough, reserving some for later. Spread chicken mixture over the phyllo dough, fold over edges and brush again with margarine.
  7. Create a pie top by stacking four sheets of phyllo dough, brushing margarine on each sheet as before. Trim into 8-inch diameter circle and cover pie. Brush with margarine to seal edges.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees (F), until golden brown. Sprinkle with remaining almond mixture.

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