I had a very frustrating afternoon today. My plan was to pick up some chicken bones/necks/whatever at the butcher to make stock for the risotto I have planned for tonight. Don’t get me started on the lack of liquid broth available here. You can’t tell me that an entire nation of supposed cuisinophiles is content with bouillon cubes! Anyway. Monday is the day that all the butchers close, of course. I don’t know why. But only about 1 in 10 butchers is open on Mondays, seriously. I noticed that the closest butcher to me was, in fact, open today, and thought it was a good sign. However, when I went in and asked for chicken bones or turkey necks for stock-making purposes, the butcher looked at me like I had three heads. He offered me feet, and then wings. Not what I was looking for.
Oh well, I said to myself, surely there is another butcher nearby who has something like that. I must have walked past two dozen butcher shops, all of them closed. Realizing I was fully two Métro stops from home, and getting thirsty, I headed back on another street. I stopped in one butcher shop where I was ignored for a full 10 minutes before leaving in disgust. Next I found a Jewish butcher, who I figured would be long on chickens, at least. Nope. I overheard the guy on the phone telling someone that he was completely out of chickens. I left in disbelief. The next open place I found returned pretty much the same reaction as the first guy.
Now am I wrong, or is this really weird? It can’t be that strange to request stock-making bones, can it? You would think that if there was anything I could do in France that wasn’t a hassle, it would be making a simple chicken stock. And you would be wrong.
I ended up in Franprix, a depressing little discount grocery store. I picked up a whole chicken to butcher myself (and that I did) and a bottle of wine, because hey, I need it now. Waiting in the checkout line, the stooped old man in front of me was trying to buy a large plastic bottle of red wine. The cashier told him it was 3 euros, and he kept handing her the few coins he had, insisting that it was only 1.40. I considered just buying it for him, but then I didn’t want to be an enabler.
So here I am, at 8:00, still simmering my chicken stock and hoping that it’s had enough time to cook because I should really be getting started on dinner.
Update after the jump…
Having gone to the trouble to butcher my own chicken for stock bones, I now have two chicken breasts, two chicken thighs, and two containers of homemade chicken stock in my freezer. And I think the extra effort really paid off in the fava bean and artichoke risotto, one of my most successful risotto forays to date.
Let’s hear it for happy endings!