Need recipe rescue - B'styiya

All, I followed the recipe to make the chicken and sauce for this b’stiya. I noticed as I was removing the chicken from the broth, and separating the onions from the broth, and then removing the chicken from the bones, that all of it had a very unpleasant slimy texture. [The chicken tastes fine. ] Not like a good broth, but like okra badly cooked. I don’t know whether to proceed with the filo and pie, bake it, and hope for the best. Whether to dilute it with lots of broth and turn it into a chicken and rice soup. What on earth could have caused this texture transformation? The only thing I can think of is 8 thighs and only 2.5 cups of broth for cooking. Maybe there was an insanely high proportion of collagen? Still, I’m afraid to take something that isn’t good right now and throw good ingredients at it… And feel bad about trashing it too.

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Trust your instincts. Took me way too many years to learn when to walk away.

Did you remember to remove the chicken skin?

I did. I may’ve not gotten every last little bit, but 90% was removed. I’m going to try it again today and see if the texture issue is still there. If it is, I don’t think it will “bake off” in a pie, and it will certainly turn off my family and make them not want to try it again. So I think I’ll heavily dilute it, make a soup, and try another b’stiya starting either with skinless boneless thighs, or perhaps even poached chicken breast. Thanks for the advice. It’s hard to walk away sometimes!

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Turning it into soup seems poetically just, given the source of the recipe, and the numerous – and rather amusing – complaints about the very idea of meat pies therein. :slight_smile:

Must indeed be collagen, or a collagen and fat mixture. (Yum!) Boneless chicken will certainly give you less of that, and presumably a less unpleasant texture at that intermediate stage. Then again I’m not sure what the right about of collagen is for that particular application – it might need a large amount for thickening the filling? Certainly redoing it from scratch will give you a point of reference… Good luck with!

Maybe it’s a flawed recipe? Proportion of chicken thigh to broth seems off (too much liquid).

For comparison, here’s a link to David Leibovitz’s version: https://www.davidlebovitz.com/chicken-basteeya-bstilla-recipe/

Another one is by Joe Pastry: https://joepastry.com/2011/making-bisteeya/

I’ve been meaning to try one of these recipes.

There’s a lot of broth to start with, but also a reduction step. (#4, which cunningly hides its identity by not using the word ‘reduce’ under much later in the recipe.)

What’s odd is that I’ve experienced collagen rich broth and the texture that it lends. This was an entirely different experience. You’ll have to take my word that it was slimy. The broth was slimy, the chicken was covered in slime. The texture was extremely offputting. And I’ve eaten b’stiya several times. I do not recall it being particularly wet or saucy. So I do think something was off about the recipe. I just trusted the Dorie Greenspan name. Re the liquid v chicken ratio, I believe they wanted to avoid discarding broth, so they used the min amount that would be needed to simmer 8 thighs for an hour.
I actually ended up rinsing the chicken yesterday to get as much glop off as I could. Now it is effectively poached, pulled, dark meat chicken. The plan is to toss it with a little green salsa, run it under the broiler to crisp it just a tad, and use it for fajitas tonight. I think it will be ok.

Recipe fails are disappointing.

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This sounds like a problem with the chicken itself, not the recipe. Were your thighs brined or injected with something? It is extremely difficult to find non-brined or otherwise messed-with chicken in my stores these days so it wouldn’t surprise me if that were the culprit.

I don’t think so. They were just bone in skin on thighs from trader joe’s. “Natural” label. Also, once the chicken was cooked, it didn’t taste oversalty, as it might if you added salt (which I did) to a brined chicken.

I bet it was the Ground Cinnamon that turned your liquid to a Snotfest. I always use Sticks of Cinnamon when simmering the Poultry for B’Stilla. https://etherwork.net/recipes/photopages/cinnamonsnot.html#closer

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I think you’re right about the cinnamon, I’ve had weirdly viscous results when heating cream and milk with cinnamon for ice creams etc. Though I’d disagree with that link blaming additives, I think it’s just the way it is.

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You’ve had these results even with cinnamon sticks, or only with ground cinnamon?

And is the snotfest terminal, if that’s the case? Or can you ‘walk that off’ in the reducing, thickening, and baking steps?

pretty sure only with ground cinnamon

My bad. I did not really read that. I just skimmed. I agree that it’s not because of additives.

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Yes. Only ground

Don’t know. It did not happen to me with B’stilla. It was a syrup so I pitched it and started over. 乁( •_• )ㄏ

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Oh wow! I had no idea. But it that’s it, it’s so good to actually have a solution to the mystery!

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I made cinnamon ganache today, flavored by heating some cream to boiling with broken cinnamon sticks. No goopy gross weirdness with the sticks.

For the recipe above, I’d say use cinnamon sticks instead of ground if you have them, otherwise wait and add your ground cinnamon to the cooked and cooled chicken mixture before baking in the pie.

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Yes! My plan when I make it again is to add the ground cinnamon at the end right before it goes in the filo. Also, in the og recipe, you boiled the whole thing for an hour. So you might be spared the textural issues with a quicker boil, as well as with sticks rather than ground.

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