Iraqi T’bit – Chicken and Rice Shabbat Stew

I need to visit the butcher and order a whole chicken. I need to explain to the butcher that the whole chicken must be left with enough skin so I can stuff it and sew it (yes with a needle and thread) the way my grandmother stuffed and sewed her chicken for T’bit.

T’bit is the Iraqi Jewish chicken and rice version of cholent, served as a hot meal on Saturday morning. I need to make sure to order the right type of mince meat to add to the rice, tomato and onion stuffing mixture. It is easier to write about it than to actually go to the butcher and make the order. It is easier to roam around You Tube finding hilarious and enlightening clips about T’bit. I include one here. What happens when people who have never heard or tasted T’bit make it, like when The Recipe Club does ?

What happens when I discover one recipe of T’bit where the skin of the entire chicken is removed and stuffed and sewed, and added to the chicken in the pot? I am not willing to try this yet. But the old Iraqi grandmother, Rachel in the video makes it look so easy, and what if it’s the original way? What is the right way to sew a T’bit chicken?

I want to cook the way my foremothers cooked but I am clinging to memory with my tongue. And so I write, because in my imagination I cook and it tastes exactly as it should.