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I'll admit it: I'm slightly disturbed.
I'm a pretty savvy cook at this point. In the past year, I've cooked a lot of dinners. And I've roasted a lot of chickens. And I don't think I've ever really photographed the process. But, tonight probably shouldn't have been the night that I started taking photos. Or at least, not with this bird.I get what I deserve, I know, when instead of just buying one of the pretty little 3-pound Purdue chickens that are debeaked, fed animal products, and left in a cage all the live-long day, I decided to buy something labeled...... well....
Fowl. That's right. And it was a MONSTER. I was assuming it was just a chicken who y'know, got to hang out a little bit before it was killed and wrapped and sent to my grocery store. However, I have since realized that this is probably not the case. My first misgivings came when I unwrapped the .... we'll just keep calling it a chicken, because it's not a duck or a turkey, and it's too big to be much else. SO, when I unwrapped the chicken and found the neck attached, but no giblets, I was a little concerned. Then, the skin concerned me. It was very thick. However, it's been a long while since I've roasted the chicken, and the last time I did I had consumed a fair quantity of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka with Alyssa first, so I'm not exactly sure that it's the best frame of reference. Regardless, I salted it, stuffed butter and garlic cloves and bay leaves inside the skin, and shoved a lemon, an onion, and various herbs in the cavity, as per usual:
When it was time to cook, I heated the oven to 425, with the roasting pan inside. I rubbed the chicken down with olive oil and added salt and poultry seasoning to the outside. Then, when the oven was hot, I put it in, breast-side down, for about 15 minutes, then flipped it to breast side up for 15 minutes. This helps improve the brownness of the skin.
Then, I reduced the heat to 400, dumped the potatoes, carrots and onions in, and sat the beastly birdie on top.
After about 40 minutes (total cook time, 1 hour 10 minutes) I did all my typical tests -- stabbed it to see how the juices ran, listened for the crack of the skin, wiggled the leg, and eventually decided the beast was done.
(Why, you may ask, didn't I just use my probe thermometer, which would have told me precisely whether it was done or not? Becuase the battery finally died and we're out of AAA batteries, of course.)
I pulled it, let it rest, and added a little flour and stock to the veggies left in the pan, to turn them into a gravy-esque thing.
Here is the beautiful beastie, looking just about right:
See? Golden-brown skin, nice and shiny. Actually, the most gorgeous chicken from the outside I've ever created.
But then.... I tried to cut it open, and I couldn't cut through the darn thing. It took TONS of effort to cut through the legs, the skin was either perfectly crispy or absolutely inedible. It wasn't cooked all the way through even though it got half an hour at a 25-degree higher temperature than I normally ever roast a chicken at. I'm not sure what this beast was.... but I do know it's heading toward the soup pot, because there's nothing else I can do with it. It's not a chicken. It might be a mutant. It might be a half-chicken, half moose. I'm not sure. But this beast was not a chicken. I know how chickens react.
That being said, one of the more boring things about the "eating alone" tendencies I harbor is this: I could eat the same 6 or 7 things, in rotation, for the rest of my life. Obviously I would like some variety now and then, but basically, if I could eat roast chicken, macaroni & cheese from the box, tomato soup/grilled cheese, chicken fingers, cheeseburgers, scrambled eggs, pizza, and I'm sure there are a couple others, I'd be a happy camper. I'm very basic.
Obviously this would be the most boring blog in the world if I ate those 7 things all the time, so we are always looking for new things to do with food. But, in the end, I'd probably rather roast a chicken sometimes.
A real chicken - no more of this "Fowl" business.