Bisteeya Wontons


Bisteeya (also known as pastilla, bastilla, b'stilla or bstilla) is a Morrocan meat pie traditionally made with a squab filling in a Phyllo-like crust. It combines sweet and savory flavors; it classically has a savory meat layer and a crunchy and sweet almond layer. When finished the pie is dusted with powdered sugar and a bit of cinnamon. This is my interpretation of bisteeya in a crispy wonton form. The fried wonton wrappers mimic the phyllo crust. With the barely sweetened, savory, spiced filling and dusting of powdered sugar and cinnamon they become a delighful little appetizer. The filling can be made a day ahead, so the wontons just need to be stuffed and fried when you're ready to serve them. (Cooks note: I admit to eating more than a few bites of the filling, so my estimate of the number this makes may be off a bit!)

What you will need

8 to 10 saffron threads

½ cup water

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

½ medium onion, finely diced

1 medium garlic clove, minced

½ jalepeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced

¾ teaspoon ras el hanout, divided

½ teaspoon table salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black peppper

1 cup chicken stock (or low sodium chicken broth)

3 boneless skinless chicken thighs (.5 to .6 lbs), trimmed of excess fat

2 eggs, lightly beaten

¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley

1 & ½ tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

1/8 of a preserved lemon- rinsed & pulp removed – minced (or substitute 1 t lemon zest)

½ teaspoon sugar

package of wonton wrappers

vegetable oil for frying

¼ cup powdered sugar

¾ teaspoon cinnamon


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