My Turkish-Cypriot mate Ayse informed me about this dish, Magarina Bulli, which is popular throughout northern Cyprus and makes an easy Sunday lunch alternative, especially if you fancy something lighter and fresher but with all the flavour of a roast. Apparently you will be offered this dish as soon as you go to someone’s house!? Sounds good to me, Dear Reader. *waves at Turkish and Cypriot G&J fans* *books flights to northern Cyprus*
Serves two with leftovers.
- 1 organic or higher welfare chicken
- 2 lemons
- 1/2 block of halloumi, grated
- 250gm of pasta, amori, penne or macaroni works best
- a handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
- a handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 chicken stock pot
- 1 brown onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 springs fresh rosemary
- salt, pepper, paprika
- Glug of olive oil
Start by doing undignified things to your bird. Roughly chop a whole brown onion and two cloves of garlic. Place half of this into the cavity of the bird, filling it firmly. Slice the lemon in half and use that as a cork for his bum. Place the remainder of the onion and garlic in the bottom of the roasting pan. Oil your bird like you’re sending it to a wrestling match then season with salt, pepper and paprika. If your bird comes looking like a star of 50 Shades of Grey, much like mine, tuck the sprigs of rosemary around his legs. If he comes sans bondage, tuck the rosemary springs down by his legs or into the neck cavity. Put him in an oven heated to 180 for about an hour and fifteen minutes or until the juices run clear when you test the meat.
If you don’t know how to do this, simply get a knife and make two small incisions into your bird, one at the breast and one in between the thigh and body. Lightly press the incision and watch what colour the juices are, if there’s any pink visible, put the bird back in the oven to cook further.
When your bird has cooked fully, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes or so before carving up entirely. Retain the amazing cooked onion and garlic in the oils in the bottom of the pan.
Fill a large pan with water, a pinch of sea salt and a chicken (or vegetable if you prefer) stock cube or pot. Bring to the boil and add 250gm of your chosen pasta. Cook until tender, but not too soft.
Now, assemble your Magarina Bulli. Using a slotted spoon, dish up your pasta, retaining the stock-infused cooking water, of which you should add a splash to each dish for flavor. Top this with the juices from the pan the chicken cooked in for extra flavor. Sprinkle the grated halloumi across the pasta and top with your carved chicken. Pile on your fresh mint and parsley and dress with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
Done. How simple is that for a Sunday lunch? Enjoy this northern Cypriot treat, Magarina Bulli!
Take the chicken carcass and put it into the pasta water, top up with additional water if needed and add in bay leaves, parsley, rosemary, peppercorns, garlic cloves, onion, carrot and celery. Simmer on a medium heat for 3-4 hours with the lid on until reduced significantly. Strain through a colander and BOOM, chicken stock for your next culinary adventure!