Mom’s Head-To-Pope’s Nose Chicken

February 13th, 2019 § 0 comments

Years of the 1930’s Depression in The Bronx. HG’s late Mom met the economic challenge with ingenuity and thrift. Witness what she would do with a kosher chicken bought from a local butcher: Mom would go to a live market on bustling Bathgate Avenue, a site of bargains, and (after expert analysis), select a chicken and have it butchered according to the ancient laws of kashruth. A professional chicken plucker (“flicker”) denuded the bird. Once the chicken was in Mom’s kitchen a process began. The skin and fat were removed in order to render schmaltz/chicken fat (an essential in Mom’s Jewish/Russian cooking). Bits of skin were crisped. They were “gribenehs” or “grieven”, a topping for chopped liver (Mom removed the chicken liver, cooked it in schmaltz with calf liver, onions and garlic. This was the basis for the best chopped liver ever). The chicken was then boiled for chicken soup with noodles. The cooked chicken was served with fiery horseradish and kasha (buckwheat groats). The neck of the chicken was stuffed with matzo meal, chicken fat, garlic, and hot pepper. Baked. The perfect complement for beer or the shot of rye whiskey HG’s late father fancied. Mom saved the wishbone and covered it in crochet. She found it useful as a perch for thimbles and needles. If there was any cooked chicken left over (rarely), it went into a sandwich of rye bread, chicken fat (of course), sliced onion, tomato (when in season), coarse kosher salt and a dusting of back pepper. Delicious.

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