Saturday, 26 October 2013

Muamba da Galinha. A Peasant Dish and one of my favorites.

How dare we kill an animal to eat its flesh and then throw half of it away?

I respect people who choose to be Vegetarians, Vegans or even Venusians (those who refuse to eat Cadbury's Eggs or pasta) but I feel sorry for their kids, who are just busting for a MacWhopper with Chips and a Milk Shake.

We raise our own animals here with the intention of killing and eating them.  Mainly chickens as none of us has had the guts to take a knife to Goosie's neck.  He's an ornery beast and will nip your ankles if you're not paying attention but he's part of the scenery now and keeps the dogs in line and unwelcome visitors from darkening my door.  As a recluse, I can thoroughly recommend a goose as a guard so I can't bring myself to eat him.  There are so many parallels between us.  He wanders the garden chewing everything and everyone in sight because he is on his own and I wander my lounge at night with a gutful of whisky suffused with the stark realisation I might as well be on my own.  Neither of us are getting our leg over.  At least I have TV.

So I kill chickens for food.

I have done a lot of hunting in my time and I have one hunting rule which I have passed on to my oldest boy and will, in due course, pass on to little Alex: 'Don't kill anything you aren't going to eat'.  Technically, by my simple rule and with a decent lawyer on your payroll, if you had the appetite and a big enough freezer, you could legally blow way an elephant and have enough ivory to carve a lifetime's supply of toothpicks but I think you all know where I am coming from.  As omnivores, we have to kill to survive but what we do kill, should be sustainable and we should use all of it.

I could say, 'They are only chickens'.  But I saw every one of them emerge into this world and every single one of them eats grain out of my hand.  They will sit on my shoulder or on my lap.  I don't have fleas but they will peck in my hair like female gorillas grooming an alpha male.  And then I select one and chop its head off.

If you are going to kill an animal, then be prepared to eat it.  From its arse to its lips.  Does Kentucky Fried Chicken offer packets of fried chicken lips?  I never died from eating a Big Mac or a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and by God I have enjoyed them.  We may question from where McDonald's get their ground beef and how Kentucky look after their chickens but there's no denying, if you are hungry enough to eat a horse (a non-endangered source of meat available in all good UK supermarkets), they're both finger lickin' good and although there might have been outbreaks of obesity and flatulence, I haven't seen any mass outbreaks of botulism.

So, here we go. If you have a few scrawny chickens running around, this is what you do.. 

First catch them, kill them, pluck them and draw them. 

(I spared you those images.  Unlike Cro, I was pretty bloody useless when it came to drawing fowl.  My art teacher always said my efforts were indistinguishable from Lowry paintings.  At the time, in the early Seventies, I took it as the insult it was intended to be.  I'd like to meet the bastard now and at least get my paintings back.)

Then chop them up and chuck them into a pan with a bit of water and stick them on the boil,


I could not find the chicken lips while dissecting the chickens but saved the breasts and thighs
for later and for this exercise in providing sustenance, just ran with the feet and wings,
plonking them in a pan with a bit of water, banging the lid on and boiling them up a bit.
In the meantime I collected a few simple ingredients.
A few garlic cloves beaten to a pulp with a bit of rock salt.
Roughly chopped tomatoes
an onion
and a couple of plastic sacks of beaten and pounded to hell peanuts.
Chop the onions up (you can see I took my time over this). Add the
tomatoes and garlic paste and fry it all up in a pan.
I squeezed out the peanut paste into a small pan of boiling water
and kept stirring it until it looked like milky breakfast tea.

I added the onion tomato mix to the chicken
and then added the peanut juice

Served with rice, and maybe a side dish of really hot local peppers and a cooling  cucumber salad
made with natural yoghurt and finely chopped mint, this is delicious.
Etiquette Tip:  Provide guests with crisp, clean, starched linen napkins, finger bowls and, as the host, dive in first so as to lead by example.  This really is finger lickin' good!







32 comments:

  1. I agree with only shoot with what you're going to eat but there are a few that I draw the line at - namely rats and corvids. I've shot hundreds of rats in my time and not a single one has looks like it would be a good feed. The same with the magpies, jawdaws and crows that I've shot or trapped, I just don't think my bowls could take it!
    Chicken looks tasty though! I'm thinking about getting some goats next year for meat (although weirdly I've never tried it before) but they're a good cheap meat that I'll be able to fatten up on my patch of land.

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    1. By the way, I am not talking about vermin. I have no idea what a corvid is by the way but I suspect it is all to do with the correct balance between diet and calibre.

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  2. Go for goat meat, it is brilliant but tough as old boots so think about a pressure cooker or at least two days in marinade. Once it is out of the marinade, brown it off, I mean sear it on high heat and then use the marinade to make the sauce. Serve it with Spaetzle and red cabbage.

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  3. omg...just found your blog through john (going gently) and i love it. signed on to follow and am adding you to my sidebar. i have so much now to catch up on! joyce

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    1. Bloody hell! Wish I had met you in a night club!

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  4. Skipped the cookery lesson and am trying to ignore you offering yourself to Jaz/Joyce. You do spread yourself widely, Tom. Not that I am not up for sharing. As long as I am the starter.

    There is only one animal I know how to catch, kill and will. Fish. Other than that give me a piece of land and some seeds and I'll be your bunny.

    I agree: In absence of a black Alsatian named Pongo a goose/gander does make a good guard dog.

    U

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    1. Lost my thread for a moment. The phone rang. Since you are fond of John please do remember that he does not like food looking at him. Which is why, and I have mentioned this to him, I shall be delighted to be stranded somewhere off Nantucket Island with him. When we run out of food he'll cut off my head first and throw it overboard. On the other hand my mother, you ain't seen nothing yet, Tom, does suck (to my father's disgust) the eyes out of a fish. Not raw. Cooked. You'd get on like a house on fire: Waste not - want more.

      U

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    2. Ursula, do you think if I drank a whole bottle of Nurofen I might not wake up? I am not taking the piss, as usual, about what you are saying, God knows you have bored and entertained me shitless in the past, It is just that I am very tired. So very, very tired.

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  5. Damn - I think I was going to watch a bit of wholesale slaughter, and all I get is another fucking recipe.

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    1. Normal service will resume shortly!

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  6. Adore chicken wings. didnt know there was anything to eat on a chicken foot. What do they step in while alive, and do you boil them clean when they are dead? The peanut paste is something i will be adding to my cooking adventures - you make it look easy, which is good. If a meal puts up a fight, then i go for option B; dining out...

    and you are tired because your body is finally taking a rest - it doesnt have to fight all that ick stuff in your toe anymore...right? I take it the "operation" was a success and now you must drink and rest. Isnt that how you warrior types get better anyhow?

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  7. Did your pans start off life as part of a car wheel?

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    1. Locally produced pans made from the aluminium of crashed aircraft

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  8. A very good Russian friend (a pukka Count, no less), always roasts chicken with the extremities intact. His party trick is to crunch his way through the head and legs whilst uttering groans of delight.

    I've eaten most things edible, including goat which I didn't find the least bit tough.


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    1. p.s. I should add that the 'Curried Goat' that I ate at 'Wellie's Cool Spot' on Grand Cayman (probably no longer there) was one of the gastronomic highlights of my life.

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    2. I like goat too so long as it is prepared properly. Here they just slaughter them and throw their bodies over a fire while they are still warm. Makes for very tough eating!

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  9. I found your post through John's. As a vegetarian, and running a guest house feeding 21 hungry miners three times a day, I work with meat with no qualms at all. I grew up in a hunting family; my dad only shot what we could eat ; yeah, I became a vego in my adult life! A year ago I culled the chickens on the yard, but now have five pet fowls wandering around. Good to meet you. Jo (Tanzania)

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    1. Tanzania? Welcome to the blog, Jo Closest I have been to Tanzania was Uganda and Kenya.

      I used to eat a lot of meat but nowadays it is more vegetables and salads. I don't want to upset you by saying I think it is an age thing!

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  10. Do you do all your cooking in what appears to be a battered helmet from The War of the Roses? A couple of weeks ago I use a slow cooker for the first time. Nice thing about this is that although you have to plan hours and hours ahead, it ensures that you get all the meat off say a chicken or a leg of lamb. Have you got one?

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    1. "A couple of weeks ago I use a slow cooker for the first time"

      Sounds like the opening line of a gag!

      Nope, I haven't got one. I live with a messy cooker and she can be pretty slow sometimes.

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  11. The Chinese approach...eat everything!

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    1. I have always wondered why they remain, on average, so lean and petite yet, as you say, eat everything!

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  12. Tom, if you want something that works the same way as a slow cooker, you might want to consider a haybox. I'd like to make one for the boat, so if i'm sailing all day and planning to do an overnight trip, i can prepare the food in the morning, stick it in the haybox, bring the whole shebang with me, and have supper ready when i drop anchor that evening.

    The recipe you gave would work well with that, methinks.

    I agree that we should use as much of the animal as we can, but some things just don't tickle my tastebuds.

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    1. i had never heard of a haybox before. Interesting.Is your haybox insulated with hey or some other modern insulation material? I wonder if you can have solar charged ones that use the minuscule electricity you can generate from solar panels to add some additional heat to the food.

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    2. We had food hot food delivered out to troops in the field in hayboxes in the Army. They were bloody heavy, especially when full, but they worked a treat.

      I did have a slow cooker when I was on EOD duty, usually filled with stew or curry. It meant that no matter what time of day or night we returned, my driver and I had a bowl of hot food waiting for us.

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    3. Nigel, here's a link to a blog where the bloke made his own haybox:

      http://www.lakelandbelvedere.com/hi-tec-haybox%e2%80%99s-green-flavour

      Hmm, not sure if that link will work with the % in there. This link will take you to the posts from October 2009, when he posted about it:

      http://www.lakelandbelvedere.com/2009/10

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  13. Another recipe to make me feel hungry. Just before bedtime too.
    Apparently, animals are harder to kill and eat when they have been given names. Especially if named by your kids.

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    1. Reading all the comments above RJ, I would agree, this is an ideal recipe for a slow cooker. The longer the sauce gets, the creamier it is and the flesh would just fall off the bone.

      You could use peanut butter but if anywhere near you there is an African ethnic community market, I am sure you could pick up Muamba which is just peanuts pounded to a paste without all the extra fat and sugar. You should try it. It really is delicious comfort food.

      I like shooting but always, still to this day, feel very sorry for the animal. I cried like a babe when, as a kid, I saw my first bird shot. Last year I had to put my dog down after he was bitten by a snake. I cried then too. I could not bring myself to slice Goosie's throat now and when it comes to chickens, I generally just let Marcia get on with it.

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  14. Oh please.
    Re slaughter Hippo, I have an email addy to help get my book from Australia to Angola. Once it is there please try to sell as many copies in your shop as possible. I'm counting on you selling 4 copies because, at a 20% discount you will make twenty bucks out of me.
    Deal?

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    1. On the other hand, just give me your address and I will send you one.

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  15. Just made my own rendition of your dish and it was a total hit. Thanks for the inspiration.
    http://isserfiq.blogspot.com/2013/12/angolan-chicken-in-penut-gravy.html

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Please feel free to comment, good or bad. I will allow anything that isn't truly offensive to any other commentator. Me? You can slag me without mercy but try and be witty while you are about it.