Monday, May 11, 2015

A Little Winner-Winner Chicken Dinner

If we're friends or I've ever been drunk with you, I've probably asked you over for a chicken dinner. Like most of my invitations, it wasn't genuine. I mean well but I lack follow-through. The idea of cleaning my house for company seems pointless, but I'm too anal to have anyone in my house when it's this dirty. As soon as I can pay my cat to do the massive pile of laundry in the middle of my apartment, we'll have that chicken dinner. Just because I'm too lazy to make you a chicken dinner, doesn't mean I'm too lazy to make myself one. It only means more chicken for me. Yeah, the secret's out - I don't always throw the fabulous dinner parties my blog would like you to believe I do. 

My plus-one doesn't do meat, so when the cat's away this mouse plays....and eats a whole bunch of roasted meat. Truthfully, I barely do meat these days either, but when I feel like indulging, I buy the cheapest whole chicken I can find. I like my meat chock full of god-only-knows what contaminates the USDA thinks are fit for human consumption. When I see "reduced for quick sale" my mouth just waters. Part of the thrill of being a carnivore is knowing how appalling factory-farming is, but eating it anyway. This here is America damnit. 

Chicken in a Pot

If there's anything you can't make in a dutch oven, I don't wanna know about it. Not sure if roasting the bird in this vessel really made much of a difference, but it looks nice and that's what matters. Roasted chicken is actually pretty affordable. It's a $10 dinner that looks like a $30 dinner and it feeds the kids I don't have for a week. Frankly I just like the ritual. It's about a four hour process in total but then you don't have to cook for the rest of the week.

You will need the following: 

1 (4lb) hormone-laden chicken
a mirepoix (celery, carrot, onion)
several garlic cloves
herbs of choice (I used rosemary and parsley)
olive oil
Salt & pepper

for gravy
2 c stock
3 tbsp flour

Step 1: Set oven to 375. Make a bed for your chicken. Mine has a bad back so he needs a tempurpedic. In this case I literally just cleaned out the fridge. It's a great use for that well-intentioned celery you have wilting in the crisper. Dowse with a bit of olive oil. 

Step 2: Get that out kitchen twine you shoplifted but never use. You can stuff the cavity or not, I just put in a bunch of extra crap I had in the fridge. Starting beneath the legs, wrap the string around the little knobs where the feet used to be. Criss-cross the strands around the tail, closing the cavity.  Bring the string around to the front. Tuck the wings in, cross strands again and tie in front. This is called a truss. Truss no bitch. You can do this step or not, but frankly it's more fun and the chicken heats more evenly. 

Step 3: Cut little slits along the chicken skin and push herbed-butter beneath. Massage it around. Make that bird moan. 

Step 4: Lower bird onto veggie bed and rub down with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes with lid on. Remove lid and bake one hour or until a thermometer reads 165

Step 5: Remove the chicken from the baking vessel. Allow to rest 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, make some gravy because it ain't a chicken dinner without a meat-fat garnish. 

Step 6: Gravy is a delicate art and it's taken me 10 years and countless chickens to get it down pat. Dump the drippings from the baking vessel into a sauce pan. Add flour and heat until absorbed. Pour in 2 cups stock and stir until deluded. Stir to thicken. Season to taste. 

Step 7: Now comes the part where you have to pretend what you're hacking apart wasn't once a living creature. I used to absolutely detest meat on bones to the point of making scenes at restaurants. Now I can slice and dice like nobody's business, using my bare hands to pull meat from bone like a common savage, barely even human.

Like gravy, carving a bird is an acquired skill. There are 8 parts of a chicken: 2 wings, 2 breasts, 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks. Start at the wing, pull it out, and with a knife locate the joint. Cut at joint. Pull leg (drumstick) out and again locate the joint, usually you can just snap it right off, but it may require some jimmying. Next, cut the thigh joint away from the hull. Lastly, you can either shave the breasts to make more white meat available for pussies, or if it's just you cut the whole boob as cleanly away from the ribs as possible. 

Step 8: Because you're poor, pick those bones clean, it makes great chicken salad and adds to your overall meat stockpile. Also, as long as you're a mangling an animal skeleton, you may as well get as much for your $5 as possible. 

Step 9: Boil the bones and roasting veggies with water for several hours. You can use the stock within a week or freeze! Discard bones and veggies or use for witchcraft. 

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