No chickens to be had

October 21, 2011 - 3:47 PM by

Okay, we’ve reached the final, and I mean final, stage of this sometimes endless chagim period. Over here, those of us who are religiously observant, don’t have three days straight of chag-into-Shabbat, like our diaspora brethren. They’ve had three weeks of that, on Rosh Hashanah (we had that too), and then again on Sukkot and this week, for Simchat Torah/Shemini Atzeret. We sort of have it, with Wednesday-into-Thursday, but Fridays off. Then again, Fridays get used for preparing for Shabbat. So we don’t have three days straight of shul, meals and shul again, but knowing that you have to shop and cook, yet again, is pretty exhausting.

Which brings me to today, the last Friday of this month of chagim. We had a simple plan, going out for dinner Friday night and a few friends coming over for lunch on Shabbat. I even had a meal plan, which included a simple saucy chicken for Shabbat lunch, accompanied by rice, perhaps some lubia beans and a course of salads to start. Dessert? Give in and buy some sorbet and cookies. I mean, there have to be some benefits to living in a town where there are bakeries everywhere, even if they’re not so great.

Pargiyot with a lemon/rosemary preparation

But, there were no chickens to be had. Literally. I won’t say that I made an exhaustive search of all the southern Jerusalem supermarkets, but I heard and I saw in a number of butchers and counters that there were really no chickens to be had, thanks to the weeks of consecutive holidays and Shabbatot. There were, to be fair, frozen trays of pargiyot, the boneless dark chicken that’s really delicious, but kind of expensive. And I knew I had a frozen chicken in my freezer, but it would be a pain to defrost and it’s never a perfect solution to quick-defrost, at least not in my experience.

So I came up with a new plan: Corned beef, braised cabbage and potato kugel, the last item to be purchased. I had a moment of panic when there didn’t appear to be any corned beef in the supermarket freezer, but my butcher friend Suleiman came up with a few from his back freezer. And, to be expected, there were no potato kugels left in the city, really, but that’s a quick item to make at the last minute.

A fast internet search offered some new ways of preparing the corned beef, but I stuck to my tried and true recipe, although I will try this method another week, when I have more time. As for potato kugel, my favorite food blogger, Smitten Kitchen, uses this recipe, and it’s looking good in my oven. Finally, I use my pressure cooker to prepare braised purple cabbage, and I tossed in a leftover quince that I had sitting around, in addition to the green apples called for in the recipe.

It’s Irish eats for us this weekend.

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