Did someone call me chicken?

7 Jan

Image Source: http://www.disneymike.com/blog/whole_chicken.jpg

Since everyone just made New Year’s Resolutions and is constantly posting about their progress on Facebook (good job – you joined a gym!) I’m going to share a progress update from MY mini-bucket list for the year, which I kicked off on my birthday back in October.

One of the items was to roast a whole chicken. I know, especially for someone who cooks as much (and I’d like to think as well) as I do, roasting a bird should be old hat. Yet despite the fact that I routinely make roasts, when I made my list I had never dealt with an entire bird.

Two reasons: CAVITY and GIBLETS.

Just thinking about a chicken’s “cavity” reminds me of the metaphor Chris Farley trotted out in Tommy Boy: I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take a butcher’s word for it.

You understand now, right?

Image Source: Maxine from HallmarkSomething about watching my hand disappear into a chicken, unsure if “giblets” await, makes me a bit queasy. Maybe I’d be more comfortable with a turkey, where I could open that sucker up and get a good look before losing my elbow to it?

And the word GIBLETS? That just implies that you aren’t even dealing with real anatomical parts – it’s more like a bag of mystery parts that have no real anatomical names. As in: This grab-bag contains one ovary, half a liver, four inches of intestines, a spleen-ish looking item and what might be a fallopian tube.

Now that I think about it, maybe I’m scarred from the Thanksgiving when I was in college and the house of guys living next door to us invited my roommates and me over for dinner. The meal itself was great, but I still remember opening our back door that morning to find what we thought was a severed penis on our stoop. (It was during the height of Lorena Bobbitt and in my defense, none of us knew what a turkey neck looked like.)

In any case, I bit the bullet and decided to make a chicken for our New Year’s Eve dinner this year. I thought it would be nice to ring in the year with one more item crossed off my bucket list. As it turns out, I got lucky with the bird – it was organic and the giblets were already removed so the cavity was as clean and smooth and vacant as the Capitol Rotunda on Christmas Day.

That hurdle crossed, I got to the fun part: seasoning the bird. The Thanksgiving turkey that my friend Lisa had made was so addictive that I decided to take a page from her book and prep my chicken with bacon butter.

Here’s the recipe if you want to make chicken that’s like crack. In a food processor, combine until it’s a smooth paste:

    • Fresh thyme
    • Fresh rosemary
    • Fresh sage
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • Cooked bacon (I used six strips of center-cut)
    • 3 T. Butter (room temp)

Anywhere I could work the skin loose, I slid in a thin layer of this butter. Then I rubbed the entire outside with it before salting and peppering. I stuck half a lemon and a whole bulb of garlic in the (once-scary but now benign) cavity, then criss-crossed the legs and tied them in place like a proper lady to make sure nothing slid out during the roasting. Then I stuck the whole thing on a roasting rack on top of sliced onions.

While it was cooking, I made myself a toasted roll – and spread it with bacon butter. Then I made mashed potatoes – and added some bacon butter. And when it came time to sauté the green beans? You guessed it.

Basically, the entire meal was an ode to bacon butter.

I wish I would’ve taken a photo of the final result for this post because it did Norman Rockwell proud. I mean, that bird was golden and glowing and tasted as fantastic as it looked. I just can’t believe it took me almost half a lifetime to attempt it.

Now if only I can find a restaurant that makes bacon butter sushi…

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8 Responses to “Did someone call me chicken?”

  1. David January 7, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    Just the smell alone must have left half the block feeling warm and cozy!

  2. Karen January 7, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    Completely forgot about that turkey neck. Definitely had no idea what that was. Good old Tim Duff.

  3. thesinglecell January 8, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    So… bacon, then.
    Well done, you. The question is… how did the cat feel about it?

    “What does the roasted chicken say?!”

    I have yet to roast a bird of any kind on my own. I do now make homemade chicken noodle soup, which does involve braising an entire chicken (sans giblet packet) in broth. The first time I did it, the carcass floated to the top in my stockpot and I took a picture of it, sent it to my sister and said, “I feel weird about this.”

  4. dianeskitchentable January 9, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    Oh everything tastes better with bacon. Good job & congratulations on one more item on the bucket list – done!

  5. Alicia January 10, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    Beautiful simile: ” the cavity was as clean and smooth and vacant as the Capitol Rotunda on Christmas Day.” Congratulations.

    • pithypants January 21, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

      I think it’s still somewhat lacking, but I’ll run with your congrats.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Chicken Three Ways | pithypants - March 25, 2014

    […] meal that prompted my most recent pat on the back was this: A chicken roasted from scratch (thank you, 40×40!) served with the most amazing roasted asparagus… then plucked and used to […]

  2. So, this is a milestone. GULP. | pithypants - October 30, 2014

    […] Roast an entire chicken. YES. And once I realized how easy it was, I hung my head in shame – and roasted a bird each week. Seriously – why did this take me so long? And how many other simple things are out there that I haven’t tried because I’ve made them more difficult in my head. (Stay tuned for 2015, when I build my own rocket pack and travel the globe.) […]

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