Egypt Independent

Poultry in ancient Egypt



Poultry was one of the most important sources of nutrition in the diet of ancient Egyptians. These birds varied between those domestically bred and other wild and migrating birds which were poached. Egyptian peasants were keen on breeding poultry as is customary even in modern times. As for the major cities, poultry merchants bred birds to sell to the public, while poachers hunted game birds.

Geese were probably the favorite birds in ancient Egyptian dishes, evident from the amount of care dedicated to breeding them. Murals have been found depicting the hand-feeding of these popular birds. Duck, has also been one of their favorites, with duck and geese usually adorning the tables of kings, priests, and the elite, be it broiled, or grilled.

Ancient Egyptians came to know chicken with the Ptolemaic dynasty. They also were familiar with pigeons, pheasants, as well as their success in domesticating ostriches. Pigeon houses were made of mud clay and their excrements were used as a natural fertilizer for agricultural purposes.

The following ways of cooking are still in use today

Stuffing with freek [green wheat]

Ingredients

Duck, goose, or Cornish Game hen

Large cup of freek [green wheat or hulled grain]

1 1/2 liters of water

1 tablespoon of ghee

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

Method:

1- Hulled grain is washed and soaked in water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt for 30 minutes

2- Ghee is heated in a pan, then hulled grain is added, seasoned with salt and black pepper, stirred lightly, then left to cool

3- Bird is plucked and abdominal cavity is sliced open, insides are removed, and bird is washed carefully inside and out, then seasoned on the inside and outside with salt and pepper

4- Bird is stuffed with hulled grain, opening is closed with the head of the bird. A liter of water is boiled in a large pot and bird is placed in it and left for approximately 1 hour, drained then served

Fowl cooked in milk

Ingredients:

Duck, Cornish Game hen, or 4 pigeons

2 cups of rice

2 glasses of milk

Tablespoon of cream

Tablespoon of ghee

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

Method:

1- Rice is washed and then soaked in water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and left for 30 minutes

2- Bird is plucked and abdominal cavity is sliced open from below, insides are removed, and bird is washed carefully inside and out

3- Large casserole is used, lined with ghee and filled with the rice after draining excess water

4- Duck or game hen is cut into 4 pieces, while pigeons are placed whole

5- Milk is added, seasoned with salt and pepper, and placed in oven until rice soaks up milk, poultry is cooked for approximately 30 minutes

6- Casserole is taken out of the oven, cream placed on top, then replaced in oven for about 10 minutes, until top layer turns brown