Monday, January 12, 2009

Chicken Thrift

Having been given the River Cottage Meat book little over a month ago I've begun trying to put some of the lessons from within its pages into practice.
On Saturday I went to the local market for some food for Sunday lunch. Polish markets tend to mostly be small producers and farmers coming to the city to sell produce rather than specialist traders. The question of organic food, rearing conditions etc. is not so vital here as outside the supermarkets food is still "real". Within the supermarkets, most notably the meat section, the quality is incredibly low. Indeed, buying chicken from the supermarket is almost always false economy as the meat will smell bad almost instantly.
At the market I picked up a 1.5kg for 14zl - equivalent of about £3.50 I guess but food is generally cheaper here. Polish chickens are always sold with the full neck attached but no feet. There wasn't a full set of giblets but a bit of offal left in. Also managed to get a kilo of potatoes (1.20 Zl) a kilo of carrots, a couple of handfuls of sprouts (everyone else was ordering by weight and I got an odd look when I asked for 20 sprouts) and some bits of more exotic fruit such as tangerines and bananas.
We put some herbs and oil on the chicken and left it to marinate overnight. Roasted it, along with the spuds, Brussels and carrots Sunday evening. There was plenty enough meat left for another meal of chicken or a few days worth of sandwiched.
The carcass and leftover oily bits were all put in a big stockpot and then onto the balcony - it is bigger, colder and cheaper than the fridge so makes a pretty good substitute in winter.
I'll be having a go at chicken soup later and let you know how it goes. It'll be hard to win over Agi though as Polish chicken soup is its own speciality and done as much as a way of cooking raw chicken as a way of making soup.
I'm impressed with myself though other this - maybe there's hope for me in the kitchen yet!


Anonymous said...

An interesting column to read. I remember how my grandmother made chicken soup when I was a child. Full of meat,vegetables and all of the chicken fat. It was especially good when I contracted a cold.

That meat book sounds interesting. Although I do not raise my own animals for meat I am an avid hunter and eat everything I shoot. Well, coyotes are the exception.