When the butcher said to me: let me call Ahmet to come and singe the feathers, I had a terrible feeling of déja vu.
I almost changed my mind there and then and said forget it, I don’t want your village chicken after all. I’ve been here before, witness the turkey a couple of years ago, witness the horrible organic chicken a few weeks ago. What was I thinking, to buy a ‘köy’ tavuk/ a village chicken?
I thought this would be different: a chicken that I could imagine running freely, happily, around the village. OK it would be a bit muscly as a result but nevertheless it wouldn’t be like those poor battery chickens in the film Samsara. (Find it on u tube if you haven’t seen it – fantastic film, just the chicken bit is awful).
Then it appeared, singed within an inch of its life. It looked pretty unappetising, I can tell you. Skin of course still on.
|see what I mean?|
I surveyed it doubtfully and told the butcher that my husband was a bit iffy about chicken these days and if he caught a glimpse of this …. which made them laugh but I was regretting my decision to have chicken by the minute.
So, I said, how I am going to cook this?
- Boil it for an hour and a half was the answer. Then you can put it in a roaster bag with whatever you want.
Well, I glumly went away with my dubious purchase, reassured only by the fact that they said the taste would be çok lezzetli/very tasty!
Once home, I washed it, put it in a saucepan with an onion, bay leaf, carrot, black peppercorns and some fresh parsley, and covered it with cold water. OK let’s boil this here bird, I thought but at least I will get some first class stock out of it. If you have access to celery, real celery not the root as we get here, you should add 1-2 sticks, chopped, to the stock.
|this is the classic way of making a court bouillon as it’s called|
I brought the contents to the boil and then reduced the level to a simmer with the lid half on. I simmered the chicken pieces for one and a half hours as instructed. Well, they had said boil but that would be too fierce.
Then I removed them from the pan and sieved the remaining liquid. That stock was liquid gold! The taste was fabulous as it should be. After the meat had cooled somewhat, I removed the skin and threw it away. I then carefully removed the chicken flesh and shredded it as I went. Yes, it was deliciously tender.
|this is what I got for my 45 TL village chicken: not worth it!|
A regular chicken costs 8 TL!
As you can see, I had ditched the idea of using any kind of roaster bag or doing any further cooking with it. The obvious answer was a soup.
This is what I did and it was absolutely scrumptious!
- In a heavy medium-sized pot, melt the butter over medium heat and cook the onion for 1 minute, stirring until it’s softened but not browned.
- Add the shredded chicken and vermicelli, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Add the stock and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice and serve.
TIP: you might like to use a little less of the pasta shapes because of course they swell. And if the soup waits for a few hours, they swell and swell. You can of course always add more liquid ie water so that the soup isn’t too thick.This is one soup where the stock HAS to be homemade: you can’t use a couple of stock cubes here. You won’t regret it, the taste is really exquisite.