Thursday, January 31, 2013

My first whole chicken, or why I can't be a full fledged farmer girl

Lately, if you haven't been able to tell from my blog posts and recipes, I've been on a big whole food sort of kick. I blogged about a recent read The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball and about how I was falling in love with the idea of living off the land, getting my hands dirty, and genuinely farming

Lets rewind back in time a few years. I was in high school? college? and my mom had left a chickn out to de-frost and asked that when I get home I clean it out, rub it down with seasoning and pop it in the oven. I called her, completely freaked out about how the heck I was supposed to clean it (like, did that mean I had to actually touch it?!?). She tried to talk me through it over the phone and I just stood in the kitchen sobbing, disgusted out of my mind at it's goose bumpy stretchy skin and little back bones. Needless to say, the still partly frozen chicken sat in the sink for another hour and a half until she got home and we ate dinner late that night. Mom and E still tease me about it to this day.

Flash forward again and we're back in 2013. I've grown up a lot, and I've been cooking meat (something I was never really used to doing). I've read about farming and longed for this idealistic picture of our own farm. I can do this right?  So last week when I was prepping to make Soup #4, I needed a main course to go along side and decided it was time to bite the bullet and make my first whole chicken. OK, I also really wanted to use my new Le Creuset dish for just this purpose. If not now, when?

Things were going really well, I was just going to make a simple chicken with potatoes on the side. Mom gave me a basic overview*, and I was on my way. (*Side note: OK! I did call her to ask if I actually had to stick my hand inside the chicken...but I knew the answer. The call was mostly for moral support). I was OK with the squishy bumpy skin, but sticking my hand inside the chicken was a completely different story. So I improvised and filled the chicken up with water, turned it upside down and shook until all the little bitty organs came out.  Then I closed my eyes, and shoved them down the garbage disposal. YUCK. Of course, E was mad I didn't save them for him..."no," I told him, "I'm not ready for that yet."

A bit disappointing that my idea of being tough enough to deal with cleaning a chicken were just ideas, but you know what? I did it. And I am sure that in time, it will probably get a little easier (I so hope it does!!). It did come out super delicious, just a bit of salt and pepper and garlic powder with onion and potatoes on the side. It needed to brown a little more, and maybe a good rub of oil or seasoning would have done the trick, but I am pretty happy with the end result. E had to cut it up for me, because, well, I'm not ready for that yet, and even when I make stock (usually once every 1-2 weeks), I don't like touching the little bones. But it was a yummy chicken, paired well with last week's soup, and we'll be enjoying the left overs tonight in stir-fry!

What's your fave way to cook up some chicken? I'm looking to try a new way - so share below! :)