Zombie Chow Disguise

Kitchen Overlord Zombie Wot

I locked myself inside the mess hall. Those idiots outside seem to think they’re living in a Telenovela instead of the damn zombie apocalypse. I’ve got to do something to get out of here before the creepy kid in a cowboy hat decides to cut off my fingers and stuff them up my nostrils to stop me from snoring.

The one vaguely competent dude told me a story about sauntering right through a pack of zombies after smearing himself in blood and bones and goopy bits. I’ve got a freezer full of chicken legs, a rack full of spices, and a heartfelt certainty that if I don’t get out of here by morning one of those whackjobs is going to murder me “for the good of the group.”

You want to live? Help me. I’m all out of better ideas.

Zombie Wot Recipe

2 pounds chicken legs
1 cup Berbere (Ethiopian spice blend)
1 cup Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian spice butter, recipe below)
1 large red onions, chopped
1 large head garlic, peeled and minced
1 inch knob ginger, minced
2 lemons, juiced
1 tsp kosher salt
6 hard boiled eggs (optional)

Niter Kibbeh Recipe

1 lb unsalted butter
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch knob ginger, minced
4 cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Start off by making the Niter Kibbeh butter. Yes, it’s more than you need. If you have to lube yourself up to make it through a drain, you’ll be happy for the extra. You’ll also smell amazing.

All you have to do is melt the butter over a medium heat, dump in all the spices, give it a good stir, and wait an hour. You’ve got time to kill. They’re all fighting over whether it’s better to eat a can of hygienically sanitized dog food or risk parasitic infection with squirrel sushi. That’ll keep them occupied while we’re cooking real food.

During that hour, we need to make the chicken legs look like the flesh has rotted right off the bone. Luckily, the French are into that. Back in the day, this video gave me a pretty good idea how to separate the skin from the bone and push all the meat up to one end. I know that guy was one of the first people infected. He really enjoyed butchering.

Remember chicken lollipops? You know some proto-zombie thought of that. Let’s pretend using your teeth to rip the last flesh off an exposed bone is how we give the kiddies a special treat! We’re using the same process. Cut the skin off right around the bottom joint of the leg. It’ll peel right off, I promise. Go ahead and rip off the skin, leaving nothing but raw, bloody, exposed muscle, and push the meat up along the tendon so it bunches on top. You can pretend removing the skin makes the whole thing healthier, but this recipe also includes a whole cup of seasoned butter. No one needs to worry about their figure in an apocalypse.

Damn. That chicken looks like a severed pile of zombie basketball player hands. Try not to think about giant knuckles while you rub them with the lemon juice. You’re not really adding acid to an open wound, though no one’s going to judge if that thought makes you feel better.

By now, the butter is simmering and the chicken is butchered. Chop up that red onion and throw it in a dry pan over a medium heat. Dry cooking it removes the moisture (which you will replace with delicious butter) and gives the onions a nutty flavor.

Once the diced onions start to brown, pull them off the heat. It’s time to strain our precious seasoned butter and put it to good use. It looks like liquid gold, and is worth a hell of a lot more, since you can’t eat metal. If you can’t find the mesh sieve, just slap some cheesecloth in a colander to get all the solids out of our butter.

Measure out a cup of buttery goodness and add it to that big pan of onions. Admire that glistening fat. It may be the last thing of beauty you ever behold.

Next, just dump in the Ethiopian berbere paste, garlic, ginger, and salt. Watch the color transform. It already looks like day old blood. This is going to work. I know it. Next comes the chicken. Mix it in really well. We want all that color and texture to permeate every crevice.

Now put a lid on it and wait for 40-45 minutes. Slow cooking makes the flesh as soft and pliable as a zombie’s. Or so I’m told. I’ve never actually tried cooking zombie remains.

I used to eat a good Doro Wot with a nice hard boiled egg and some injera. Y’know, from a distance, if we smeared some injera with a little of the sauce and carefully draped it under our clothes, it might look like peeling skin. Anything is worth getting away from these people. I can hear them fighting over the ethics of shooting strangers to steal their supplies or letting zombies eat them then stripping the corpse. They wouldn’t want to waste a bullet, after all.

Since we’ve got 45 minutes to kill until the chicken is ready, go check and see if we have any more red lentils in the pantry. We’ve got time to whip up some Mesir Wot. Yes, nearly all Ethiopian food is called Wot. I like to think they relish the element of surprise. Just think of it as an easy side dish that’ll add to the overall pulpy look of our zombie meat costumes.

Mesir Wot Recipe

4 cups chicken broth (or water)
2 cups red lentils
1 yellow onion, diced
1 inch knob ginger, minced
¼ cup Niter Kibbeh
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like it hot)
1 tsp kosher salt

Remember that leftover Niter Kibbeh? Pour a quarter cup of it into a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, ginger, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and salt. Give it a good stir. Gently fry your spices for about five minutes. Once you’re bored with that, add the broth (or water) and lentils. Give it another good stir and wait for it to come to a boil. Let it bubble away for the next 30-40 minutes.

Gosh, that’s exactly enough time for your chicken to finish cooking. It’s like you carefully timed this entire escape. Congratulations.

The cooked Mesir Wot looks a lot like the undifferentiated pulpy bits that always seem to fall out of zombie guts. Paired with a fresh bone holding just a few scraps of flesh, this is the perfect meal to give survivors traumatic flashbacks. If any of us survive.

Stop shaking and help yourself to a generous portion of it all. You’ve seen worse, and we’re going to need our strength. When the leftovers have cooled, go ahead and start smearing yourself with the Doro Wot sauce and stuff some bones in your pocket. Get as gory as you can. We’ve got zombies to fool.

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