2010/11/25

I really had to go there... (Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux)

You see it's like this.  I have deep-seeded issues with raw poultry.  I love chicken (cooked).  I love turkey (cooked).  But I really have a tough time handling it in its raw form.  If it is deconstructed (i.e. whole cut up chicken), I can deal.  In its whole form where it eerily resembles what it once was, I kind of freeze up.  It's like I am in some freakish cartoon and at any point, the creature in front of me is going to come to life.  And run into walls.  Because it has no head...  And talk to me - but I won't know where the voice is coming from because it's an animal with no head, people. 

I suppose this is a realy bad angst to have days before Thanksgiving.  When I have to deal with an 18 pound piece of poultry.  With no head.  Yeah.  I have issues.  I am trying.  Really, really trying. 


I grew up around farms.  I know the circle of life.  This shouldn't bother me.  But it does.  I even went vegetarian for a couple of years to avoid the animal thing.   

My most horrifying chicken moment came during a trip to Shanghai several years ago.  There was this one restaurant where we ate family style and one of the first courses was a chicken soup.  Made with a whole chicken - as in it had it's feet and head still attached.  Every time the ladle dipped down into the pot to scoop out some soup, those little feet and that hollowed-out head popped from over top of the bowl - which of course was sitting right in front of me.  Now, not many foods throw me off like that.  But to this day, the sight of those little feet quivering over top of the pot are enough to make my stomach go sour and my body to break out in a cold sweat. 

All of this was said to reiterate my statement that I have poultry issues.  And I had to make a chicken. 


But Dorie said to roast a chicken.  And I like chicken.  But I had to prepare it.  I had to stick my hands in its cavity.  I had to stuff herbs under the skin - thyme, rosemary and sage were my choices.  I had to dry it and touch it.  And.  EWWWW.  The things I do. 


I get a little woozy looking at these pictures. 


I looked in the microwave/ bread storage place (weird, I know) and there were no good bread remnants (just a sad loaf of store-bought sandwich bread I picked up in a weak moment), so I baked off a baguette of whole wheat rosemary-flax bread.  I thought the sturdiness of it would stand up well to the dish.


I survived getting the chicken into the oven.  It was a relief to get to the point of being able to chop up the nice, sweet vegetables.  Nice, safe vegetables.  That don't come after me in my sleep.  (Thank you very much). 



I know that I must address the bread bed.  I used three pieces of the flax baguette shown above.  Apparently, I did not strike the perfect balance between my liquids and roasting.  I had the soggy mess.  However, it was a tasty, soggy mess - albeit somewhat salty due to the salt crust I had rubbed on Mr. Chicken. 


I totally ignored the fact that my chicken had a liver.  Sorry.  I have my limits - even in the name of food.


The little guy was very tender and had lovely flavor.  In fact, it was good enough that I made it again the following week - in pairs....  Which means I had to touch TWO chickens - still feeling a little queasy from that experience (by the time Thanksgiving is over, I am sure I will have gone through multiple bottles of Pepto...).  But in the name of good chicken, I will conquer my fears.  This time around I used an anodized steel roasting pan. 


This time, I am very happy to report that my bread beds came out as promised.  And because I made two chickens, I had two beds.  To share...  (One for me and one to split up between everyone else - that seemed fair, right?  After all, I am the one who had to TOUCH the chicken.)



Happy Thanksgiving!

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie.  Come check out what all the other FFWD'ers are up to!

22 comments:

  1. Loved your post! The story about your dinner in Shanghai reminded me of "A Christmas Story" where the whole family goes out for Chinese dinner, and the duck is still "smiling" at the family. Glad you conquered your fear of the roasted whole chicken!

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  2. @ YC. Thanks. I kid you not, those chicken feet coming up out of the soup was truly one of the most horrifying events in my adult life.

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  3. Good for you for conquering your fears and making the chicken! Dorie would be very proud :) It looks wonderful!

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  4. Sort of like the Bill Cosby "Chicken Heart" routine. This was a really good chicken. I'm thinking cut up chicken would have worked as well in a pan where the parts could be scrunched up.

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  5. Happy Thanksgiving Cher. Full marks to you for conquering your fear of raw poultry - you did a fine job.

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  6. Enjoyed your post...and reminded me of our turkeys today...yes, I had to prepare 3 of those raw, ugly, dead birds with those things inside where the neck used to be and inside the cavity where I don't want to think about what used to be...and I know just what you mean...if I had not learned to blank out my brain, I could not have eaten turkey today on the greatest turkey day of the year. And, yes, Dorie's chicken is delicious so we are all glad you got through a tough ordeal to get to the much better eating it part.

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  7. Glad you face your poultry fears and made this one. It was really good, wasn't it? I made the liver and enjoyed it so much, I stuffed the turkey liver into the cavity when I roasted it for Thanksgiving!

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  8. Oh, this is such a great post! And yes, you deserve credit for touching icky chickens. I don't know what I'll do if one of the recipes involves veal or foie gras or something that grosses me out.

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  9. Oh gosh your story about the chicken in Shanghai is to funny..I think I would be grossed out from that moment on everytime I saw a chicken!
    Your chicken looks great!

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  10. Yay! Someone else who gets squirmy when touching a slimy bird (and a yucky liver)! Your chicken looks perfect, though - glad you enjoyed it! :)

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  11. Cher...Ha Ha you crack me up. Some of those pictures even scared me. Your finished product looked great. I wish we all has sous chefs. Loved the post Happy Thanksgiving. I couldn't post as I'm away but I snuck away to see what all my friends were up to in the group.. B

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  12. So funny! I can't believe you made three chickens in such short order! I'm sure your chicken phobia will be cured by the time we're finished with Dorie's book. Lovely post.

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  13. I am glad to read that someone else has the same chicken phobia as I did!!

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  14. Cher, I know it could be really icky, but it's worth it. It is amazing what we are willing to tackle just out of love for cooking and good food!
    My youngest daughter loves to nibble on chicken feet (my mother's influence, yuck!) and once in a while I have to go to our local Asian store to procure those and cook them in the soup.
    We loved the chicken, and the bread (I stole the liver, because I have a household of liver-fiends!)
    Whew! November is almost over! I am looking forward to the December recipes.

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  15. OMG You grew up on a farm AND still have raw poultry issues??? Oh wow do you make me feel better! Sister I am with you! It's terrifying! The fact that you then pulled it together to do it AGAIN with 2 birds! You surpass me with miles of grace. Thanks so much for sharing your fear. It's important that us chickens stick together!

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  16. @ Allison. For real. My dad's family had a farm (which included chickens) and I still can't deal. I am such a wimp. I know. I hang my head in culinary shame.

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  17. Your post really made me laugh. With all those chickens and the Thanksgiving turkey maybe your raw poultry fears will fade... Aren't you glad you did it though. This yummy recipe was worth it.
    Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm going to try your suggestion for using some of the extra cream of wheat next time I bake bread. Excellent suggestion! Thanks.

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  18. I really enjoyed your post. I am so glad that you got over your chicken issues and made this dish. :) It truly is my favorite FFwD to date. Great job - and to do two yet!! Impressive.

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  19. What a great post! Man ... every time I read about this chicken, I get hungry for it again.

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  20. So glad you were able to see past your "fear" of chicken to make this one! Although from your story, that would have freaked me out too.... I made this one a little late for a dinner guest, but it turned out pretty good!

    http://acookingmizer.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/i-invited-the-neighbor-over-for-dinner/

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  21. Oh, I should have read this one before commenting on the Cornish hens... you are one brave lady! I guess raw poultry is not in my food fears list, but most baking is. I can't make biscuits to save my life.

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