Last year for my family's annual Thanksgiving gathering, I was assigned to the duty of the turkey. I was not particularly happy about this assignment but everyone (the diligent ladies of the family to be exact and not the lazy men who play golf all day. minus my mom who plays golf with all the men. traitor!)does as they're told. Now, cooking up a whole bird, especially one that's huge, sounds like a very unattractive proposition unless the dish in question is sam-gye-tang (Korean chicken), which uses little cornish hens. Well thank god I wasn't required to make a homemade turkey. I ordered a roast turkey from Gelson's and called it a day.
But I finally came to grips with the fact that I will need to roast a whole bird sometime because: a)who doesn't make roast chicken!; b) I want to be a well-rounded cook; and c) because it's frickin delicious silly. When I came to that realization and faced my fear of roasting a whole bird, that's when things began to go wrong like a mysterious horror film.
The naked bird...
I am facing the naked bird. A whole carcass to be exact. This makes me feel a lil bit uneasy because I am forced to face the connection between my food and its former animal life. It's not same as the deconstructed pieces of food that are nicely packaged into "thighs" or "breasts," far removed from our minds as Clucky, the cute chicken. I get over it and rub it down with olive oil, season it with salt and pepper, and fill its cavity with lemon, herbs, celery and onion.
The roasting pan...
I ordered a roasting pan from amazon. I awaited the package anxiously and when it was delivered I opened it with a gusto of a five-year old birthday girl opening her most ginormous gift. It was beautiful as I expected it to be, gleaming and shiny without a nick to disturb its smooth stainless steel essence. If anything delicious was going to be made in this beauty it was going to be a roast chicken.
Now the adventures...
After seasoning the chicken, I trussed it, placed it in the middle of the roasting pan, surrouding it with a crowd of garlic cloves, onion and lemon wedges, and herbs. In it went. Being the completely impatient cook that I am, I had to try really hard not to open the oven door to peek, lest all the heat escape into the night. But unable to see through the window on the oven door (due to the fact that it had never been cleaned before) I could not see a damn thing! So I did it. I peeked.
Oh, it was beautiful. The skin was browning nicely and the aroma of the roasting chicken and veges filled the kitchen. I closed the door quickly and excitedly waited for the timer to go "beep beep beep." I was a proud little yoony, hearing no doomed soundtrack from a horror flick.
"Beep beep beep!" Carefully grabbing the mighty roasting pan, I took out the golden chicken and let it rest on top of the stove, after poking the breast of the chicken to see how crispy the skin was.
Finally after about 10 minutes I grabbed a knife to start carving. I placed the sharp knife along the breast bone and began to push down to cut off the hopefully juicy piece of white meat. However, the knife did not cut through the meat and no steaming juice dripped from the cut. Now the skin that once looked golden and crispy was not so. What the hell was going on?!(insert doomed music here).
I continued to carve the rest of the meat off the chicken, making sure to neatly cut off the wings and legs, the best parts imo. I was very disappointed at my first Roast Chicken. What had gone wrong? Was this fate's cruel joke at my attempt to avoid roasting poultry for 24 years? Was I sabatoged?
Nope, no cruel joke and no sabatoge. Silly me, I roasted the chicken upside down! No wonder I couldn't carve any meat off. The mistake also contributed to the uneven browning of the chicken. At that point my disappointed turned into a less disappointed laughter. I had also forgotten to season the cavity. Arg! Next time I will conquer you upside-down-bland-chicken! Next time...
But I did make a delicious side to go with my supposed-to-be-delicious roast chicken, a Chorizo Stuffing. My saving grace of the night.