Shuk Talpiot and Yemenite Chicken Hearts

Yesterday I went to Shuk Talpiot in the Hadar district.  It was kind of overwhelming and completely awesome at the same time.

It didn’t look like much at first, but then as I walked around, it just kept going and going. There were at least seven or eight produce stands, four non-kosher fishmongers, two kosher butchers, multiple dairy stores, bakeries, canned goods stores, and innumerable stalls selling dried fruit, chick peas, and household miscellany. Heaps of dried fruit for Tu B’shevat. Piles of pomegranates. Bunches of bananas. Stores selling towels, sheets, and blankets. Shoe stores. Clothing stores. Garden stores. Finally I forced myself to stop gawking and actually start shopping.

The prices on the produce were terrific. Pomegranates, kiwis, and clementines for five shekels a kilo. Potatoes for two shekels a kilo. I only went a little crazy because I had to carry it all back on the bus and had already bought a large comforter.

Prices at all the butcher shops were normal. I bought ground beef and…half a kilo of chicken hearts. I had seen them elsewhere too, but I decided it was finally time to try them. (I passed on the head meat. It must not be so “strange” here, because I even saw it at Supersol Extra Deal, which is a big box store, but at 50 shekels a kilo I decided I wasn’t that brave. It must be a delicacy because I’ve never seen it for cheaper than that.)

I was prepared to have to clean the blood out of the chambers. Fortunately, it appeared that they had already done that at the butcher, and all I had to do was inspect them to make sure it was all out. Only one had some congealed blood that I had to rinse out. Whew!

Once the blood is out, it’s just muscle meat…with arteries sticking out of it.

I halved them and braised them with onions, cumin, and hawaij, which is a Yemenite spice mixture for soup. I added frozen peas at the end of the cooking time. Chicken hearts release some liquid, and it cooks down to a nice thick sauce, which you can’t see in this picture because it’s leftovers.

They are kind of chewy.

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Not a food you can eat every day, but as Jeff said, “At 18 shekels a kilo, I can get used to this.”

By the way, while I have the camera connected, here is a picture I’ve been meaning to post of the receipt from Home Center, where we went when we first moved in to get basic necessities for our apartment:

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The reason it’s so long is we bought the silverware ala carte, and Jeff negotiated 10% off everything, but not the silverware because it was already buy 1 get 2. So the cashier had to take 10% off of every. single. eligible. item. separately. For our entire overflowing cart. About halfway through the process, the manager told her just to give us 100 shekels off the rest of the bill.

When we got home, we had to peel the stickers off of 40 pieces of silverware. (They didn’t come off easily. Of course.)

-Abby

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4 thoughts on “Shuk Talpiot and Yemenite Chicken Hearts

  1. When I was little, chickens & turkeys used to come with the organs inside, in a little paper packet. Heart, gizzard, liver. They made good additions to soup. Chewy, yes, but think of them as kosher clams, which are extremely chewy. 😀

  2. I remember the Shuk when I went with my Lynda when she spent a few years in Israel. I enjoyed the shopping of fruits and nuts, but don’t remember meats. I remember it was really a big place.

  3. Head of beef *is actually super common in Israel, and is cooked especially on Rosh Hashanah (instead of head of fish). Uri’s mom (my mom in law) is always very upset that it’s not really sold in the US. I will say though that although at first the idea was really repulsive to me, as it turns out that meat is truly delicious, and you’d never know what part of the animal it came from because she cooks it in the same fashion as a stew, but it’s a lot more tender.

  4. Pingback: At the shuk | Hebrew Is for Israel, Mommy

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