The Albanians are strong on their mythology and folk culture. For example prior to ploughing his land for the first time a farmer must sneak out unseen during the night and hide a chunk of bread in amongst his crops. If it is still there come daybreak then the harvest will be bountiful.
So far so good, we’ll continue. If you worry your newborn is weak and sickly then rub an egg yolk on their head for strength. More? Ok then, you can see into the future with the breastbone of a chicken.
This soup has chicken in it, and I strongly suggest you make it immediately, cling on to the breastbone and smash a dozen eggs over your head, because you’re going to need to be one all-powerful future-seeing bad mutherf to stand a chance against the terrifying Albanian kuçedra.
It starts off with a simple snake as all good legends do. Scary to some but by-and-large mankind has pretty much figured out how to live in truce with our serpentine chums. On its twelfth birthday the snake transforms into a bolla, a dragon with wings and silver eyes. Due to the curse bestowed by St George when he killed a completely separate dragon the bolla keeps it eyes closed 364 days a year. It opens them only on St George’s day whereupon if it sees a human it must devour them immediately because killing people is the first rule of bolla club.
If fifty years go past without the bolla being seen by a human being it then turns into the bolla+ version, the bollar, which does all of the above and additionally becomes some sort of poison cow for all the local snakes. If the bollar manages to remain unseen after a further fifty years it turns into an errshaja which feasts off human hearts. If a 100 years more pass without the errshaja being seen then all hell breaks loose and it transforms into a kuçedra which has horns and nine tongues, breathes fire, has a wing augmentation and ramps up the killing whilst chucking in a drought or two for good measure.
I've read numerous versions of this legend and the timescale of the evolution of bolla changes with each author. One thing they all agree on however is that if you see a kuçedra you had better hope he (or she) doesn't see you.
So yeah, if you have a pet snake be sure to look at it daily. And eat this soup.
- 1 whole chicken
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 peppercorns
- 150g long grained rice
- 2 litres boiling water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 1 carrot peeled and finely diced
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
NUTRITIONAL CONTENT PER PORTION
- Calories | 401
- Fat | 14.8g
Serves | 4
Prep Time | 30 minutes (plus 1 hour cooling time)
Cooking Time | 45 minutes
- Put the chicken in a big saucepan together with the water, bay leaves, celery, peppercorns and salt. Cover with a lid, bring to the boil then simmer for 1 hour until the chicken is cooked through.
- Strain the stock and reserve for later. Chop the chicken into chunks, discarding the skin and carcass.
- Cook the rice according to packet instructions.
- In a large saucepan fry the onion and carrots in the olive oil until transluscent, stir in the turmeric.
- Stir in two ladles of the stock and simmer for five minutes.
- Stir in the chicken and rice.
- Whisk the eggs and slowly trickle in the lemon juice whilst whisking all the time. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Gradually incorporate approximately 500ml of the liquid into the egg mix, you don't want it to curdle to make it a slow drizle and don't stop whisking. Tip the lot back into the vat of soup and stir well.
Based on a recipe found on the Ora News Emisione channel on youtube