We’re loving this recipe for Bisteeya
from Chef Kwame Unwuachi
of The Shaw Bijou
in Washington DC, and not just because it features Aussie lamb! First off, it’s kind of a riff on meat pie, and there’s not much we Aussies love in this world more than that. Second, he’s using a technique we love. First, he sears and then slow-braises Aussie lamb shoulder in a flavorful broth, then shreds and presses it in a hotel pan overnight. Next, it’s cut in portions and seared again to crisp it up for service. This technique is what Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis do at Root & Bone
in NYC for their “meatloaf ,” and how you make scrumpets . All delicious, every time, and super-simple to execute in a restaurant kitchen.
But we digress. Back to Chef Kwame’s Bisteeya. Traditionally, the bisteeya was a pigeon pie made with braised pigeon, lots of cinnamon and spices, and a kind of phyllo dough. Switching to Aussie lamb was an obvious upgrade, but he keeps the signature flavors intact with plenty of ras el hanout , the king of Moroccan spices. French feuilles de brik is his chosen pastry, rolled around a cylinder and fried, then filled with some of the braised lamb. The juices from the braise are sweetened with a little coconut sugar, and reduced to a syrupy sauce. To take it over the top, powdered sugar and mushroom powder are the final garnishes for a sweet-savory masterpiece.