Poaching liquid

  • Water
  • 2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 Teaspoons freshly grated gingerroot
  • 2 Teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon saffron threads or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 Pounds chicken meat (breast and thighs)


To Poach Chicken

In medium, straight-sided saucepan, measure enough water to cover chicken but do not add the chicken. Stir in cinnamon, ginger, cumin and saffron (or turmeric). Bring liquid to a simmer. DO NOT BOIL. Add chicken and simmer gently and poach until tender. Reserve poaching liquid; remove chicken with slotted spoon and cool.

For Filling

Mix toasted almonds with sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.Shred the poached chicken and mix with raisins in another bowl; set aside.Reduce reserved poaching liquid to 1/4 of the volume; add lemon juice. Beat eggs until frothy and add to reduction. Cook until liquid evaporates and eggs look scrambled and are no longer wet. Remove from heat.

To Assemble

Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush a 9 or 10-inch cast iron skillet or a 9-inch springform pan with melted butter. One by one, butter one side of each of 6 sheets of phyllo and place them in the pan so that they overlap the edges of the pan. Arrange 1 left to right across the pan, 1 up and down and 1 in each diagonal direction, and the last 2 up and down and left to right, again. Fold 2 more phyllo sheets into a square; place in the bottom of the pan. Spread the egg mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Spread the chicken mixture evenly on top. Then sprinkle the almond mixture over all. Fold the last 2 sheets of phyllo in half and place over the almond mixture. Bring the edges of the 6 sheets that overlap the sides of pan over the top and tuck under to form a seal.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until phyllo is brown and crispy. Let bisteeya sit for about 10 minutes; make holes in the top to release steam and cool. Remove from baking dish and sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

For Filling

  • 11/2 Cups sliced almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 1/3 Cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 21/2 Cups California raisins
  • Poached chicken meat
  • Reserved poaching liquid
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 eggs
  • 10 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed according to package directions
  • 1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories 610 (Calories from Fat 45%); Total Fat 31 ( Saturated Fat 10; Trans Fat 0; ); Cholesterol 210; Sodium 200; Potassium 619; Total Carbohydrate 52; Dietary Fiber 5; Sugars 36; Protein 32; Calcium 99; Iron 4;

Try Another Recipe

Chicken Breasts with California Raisins and Oranges

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There are many more ways to use raisins for healthy cooking. Take a look at our recipe page for more delicious dishes.
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Did you know raisins are a source of concentrated nutrients?