Thursday, October 25, 2007

Roasted Chicken

Oh, this didn't go well.

Channing is a fan of the rotisserie chicken from Jewel and I figured that the practice wouldn't go to waste. It would allow me to feed him; practice the technique (as simple as it seemed), which would be good prep for the holidays with turkey and get more materials for a homemade chicken stock (I've frozen all the carrots from the knife practice last week).

My instructions from class were buried in a clean-up of my office last week, so I started this from memory on Wednesday night.

I thawed the bird (part of the back was still frozen), softened a stick of butter, mixed in about 2 Tbsp of a holiday spice rub from Whole Foods which I had extra (dried rosemary, sage, thyme, etc), and rubbed it under the skin of the bird. I used the "natural" truss of cutting small whole in the skin and tucking the drumstick ends into those whole. I then put it in the roasting pan and popped it into the over at 400F.

It was started and in the oven when I found the instructions and saw the first possible problems.

In my rush, I committed a cardinal sin - I forgot to wash and pat-dry the chicken. Then, I forgot to salt and pepper the outside and cavity before applying the butter. The first is obviously way more important. It had been rinsed in the course of thawing, so I wasn't too worried, but it should always be done. Don't know what was wrong with me.

I did add another stick of butter, btw, for basting. The roaster I have is pretty big and the volume of juices and melted butter on the bottom of the pan just wasn't enough to draw up into the baster (i.e. being spread too thin in the pan). In class, we used smaller roasting pans which were perfectly sized for a chicken.

So, it baked for about 2.5 hours (20 minutes a pound for an almost 7 pound bird). I tested the temperature and it came out as 175F.

It was about 10:30p by the time it was done, so I let it cool and then put it in the fridge for dinner the next day. And then things went wrong.

I put it back in the over at 200F to warm up and started rice for dinner. I figured I'd make a sauce from the butter-laden drippings for both. I walked away for a bit and came back to find the rice at a boil - god knows how long it had been doing that - and then dropped it to a low flame. when all the water was gone/absorbed, the rice turned out underdone. Didn't find that out until the end.

Then I poured the butter/drippings into a saucepan, brought it up to heat and then whisked in a few tablespoons of flour to thicken it up. For a while it looked like things were going well, but I tasted it and it seemed gritty, like the flour hadn't cooked. 20 minutes later, it wasn't any better and I gave up.

And to cap it off, when I started cutting up the chicken to serve, I found that it was undercooked. I don't know how that happened, with the test, and none of it was actually raw, but there was definitely much too much pinkage.

So, the chicken and rice were both undercooked and the gravy was crap. The only upside (other than general learning) was that I can still use the chicken carcass for stock.

No comments: