Let me be clear: I have an aversion to chicken.
It dates back to my childhood years of poking my meat with a fork to check for veins or other signs that my entree used to be a live animal.
I wish I was past this. I wish I didn’t care that there are things in chicken like fat and “gristle” (a word that still makes me shudder). Mostly I just wish I was a vegetarian.
But then I couldn’t have steak or fish, both things for which I salivate.
So. The chicken. I deal with it on a semi-weekly basis because it’s easy, cheap and the husband enjoys it. I usually just cut it up and cook it with some simmer sauce. But do I like it? Unclear.
Recently I’ve been flipping through various cookbooks and the same recipe keeps jumping out at me: whole roasted chicken. Every single recipe taunts me with how easy it is, how low-maintenance, but they all seem to forget one little tidbit: I have to TOUCH the chicken to make it.
So, without actually touching it, I managed to get this 4.5lb chicken from its packaging to my chicken-only cutting board.
Ten minutes later, the chicken still looked like this, because I was pacing back and forth in front of it after reading the following in my cookbook: “Remove organs from cavity of chicken.”
Surely there must be some other way.
I finally decided that without rubber gloves I was going to have to resort to using a paper towel. I wrapped my hand in the paper towel and stuck my hand into the “cavity.” It only took about two seconds for me to realize that I could not feel a thing, nor could I move my hand to grab at anything.
I was going to have to do this the hard way.
I took off the paper towel, counted to three and dove my hand in so fast I convinced myself I wouldn’t feel a thing. But I did feel a thing. His organs. How do people do this?!
I promptly threw them in the trash and then washed my hands within an inch of their life. Only I should have kept reading because it wasn’t long before I was rubbing salt and pepper all over the bad bird and then shoving a lemon up his rear. Good times.
I became a huge fan of rosemary in the process, because I quickly discovered that I can jam it into the chicken without ever touching the slimy flesh.
My jaw really hit the floor when the cruel authors of the cookbook demanded that I lift the skin away from the meat with my finger and put whole garlic cloves underneath. Excuse me?
I put the whole thing in the oven and instantly realized why people love cooking chicken this way: you can walk away for an hour. This, in cooking, is priceless. Usually when I cook chicken, it’s stir-fry style and I have to stand there and move the chicken pieces around for twenty minutes. With the whole chicken method, I’m watching Bethenny Getting Married and having a glass of wine. Why didn’t I know about this sooner?
The resulting bird was really a thing to behold: all golden brown, perfectly crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside (and by inside, I mean the meat…not the “cavity”). Mike was astonished that such a thing of beauty would come from the work of my hands, especially since he knows about my aversion to poultry.
So now I am caught in a bind: do I make the chicken more often, considering how easy it is and how much Mike likes it? Or do I banish forever the image of my hand up the backside of a bird?