Hello to all of you (who still read this)!! Life is starting to settle down a little bit and we’re getting into a good new routine here in our new home in Central Sulawesi. So far we have almost everything unpacked, have two new house-helpers trained and in a good routine, are starting to make some friends and do some social activities, and are looking forward (very much!) to my Mom (Kara’s) coming next week! Yes, most of the walls are still bare and the bugs are still coming in more than we would like, but we’ll get there.
Some of the biggest changes and adjustments that I as a home-maker and a cook have had to make have been in food preparation. In our first week here I taught our helpers how to make tortillas from scratch, made home-made tomato sauce in my slow-cooker, and I have a 2 kilo bag of wheat germ in my freezer waiting for me to make some whole wheat bread.
And… today I ordered some chickens. PRE-READ WARNING: If you are squeamish of seeing raw meat and/or animal parts, just skip the rest of this post. 🙂
Sounds great, right? They deliver the chickens right to my door. And yes, they are already dead, but still warm from the morning slaughter. I actually ordered them for the first time last week and forgot to ask for them without the heads and feet… today I remembered to ask. So I do not have a picture of them with their heads and feet still on, but I think that you can imagine the few missing accoutrements from this picture. This is what they looked like when they arrived today. They come without the feathers and everything!
Now, not knowing WHAT I needed to prepare myself to touch on the inside of these chickens, I got online and did some research. I found a really great website that told me how to do everything – and I mean everything. I will spare you all the gory details, but suffice it to say that the only things that they talk about on that website that I didn’t have to pull out were the intestines and the lungs, which frankly, were the two things that grossed me out the most in reading about them. So yes, I am very thankful for intestine-less lung-less chicken, and for the internet. Here is a picture of the “removed” portions of the chicken – the parts I removed with my bare hands (yes, I am a little proud).
So you see – the gizzard, the liver and gallbladder, the heart, the wind pipe, and something else that I don’t know exactly what it is (and prefer not to know). A little different than the pretty package that comes out from the inside of a whole chicken in America, huh?
After the cleaning, I chop the whole chicken into its separate parts. The usual American parts: drumstick, thigh, wings, breasts, and tenders. Here is the result.
Not bad for an amateur, right? Now, if I were a true Asian, I would not have cut my chicken this way. I would have taken a very large meat cleaver to the entire carcass and made several perpendicular cuts through the entire body of the chicken, thus leaving several chunks of random chicken pieces still on the bone. Nothing wrong with this method at all, just different and slightly challenging when most American recipes call for 4 nice neat boneless, skinless chicken breasts. But alas, I am not Asian. So… I packaged my nice neat cuts of meat thus:
Breasts in several packages, thighs, drumsticks, and wings each separately, and three carcasses ready to make stock. Which I also did today with the two carcasses from last week. No, I did not use the heads and feet. It was good motivation while cleaning and chopping the chicken to smell that wonderful stock cooking right next to me the whole time. I highly recommend this method to those feeling slightly timid toward a whole bird. In they all go to the freezer hopefully to get us through one week so that I can order, clean, and chop more chickens next week :). Eventually, once I am a little more confident at it, I will start training our helpers how to do it, but I am SO glad that I figured it out and conquered those little birds all by myself!
In Bandung, while we were in language school, we could go to the import grocery store and buy all the different parts of the chicken already de-boned and cut up (just like the fresh meat counter at an American grocery store). But, here my best option is always the freshest option – and who can get fresher than this? Just a little taste of my day today :). Of course, all done while Elizabeth was taking a nap.