As I continue to try new things in the kitchen, I find myself facing many new firsts. There are still a great many things I’ve never tried before, such as making a soufflé, poaching eggs, or gutting a fish. (The first two will probably come up soon, but I’m in no hurry to try the third.) So I still have a lot of exploring to do.
One thing I hadn’t tried yet was cooking a whole chicken. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if I’d have to scoop out giblets by hand, or if I would over or under cook it. So I waited till Cathy was available for questions, since I had seen her cook a whole turkey before, inside a brown paper bag no less. I figured she had to know what she was doing. I also found several promising recipes to pick from and reviewed those with her as well. As it would turn out, we had one of what I would call beginner chickens. The giblets were neatly tucked into a wax paper bag and the chicken included a… I don’t know the technical term so I’ll call it a popper. You know, those pre-inserted thermometers that pop when the bird is done. Very handy, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
After emptying the bird and rinsing it out, I left it to dry in the fridge, propped up on it’s tail for a few hours. I chose a lemon and herb roast recipe, because I have had pretty consistent success with roasting in the past, and the recipe’s seasoning mix included mustard powder, which I happened to have on hand. The mixture was sprinkled inside and out, and then the lemon juice and olive oil blend was drizzled over the whole thing. Popped it into the oven, and started my basting timer. The recipe said to let it cook for an hour and a half, but I wasn’t sure if I should trust that or the popper. A quick call to the sis-in-law confirmed the popper’s idiot-proofness, so after the hour and a half was up, I switched to ten minute basting intervals. Right around the two and a quarter hour mark, I finally got a pop and out it came. After 20 minutes rest and a masterful carving job by the wife and we ate like kings.
I don’t know what I’ll tackle next (maybe cornish hens?), but I eagerly anticipate each new adventure. After all, I may not be an expert at cooking a whole chicken, but that doesn’t mean I have to be one anymore. I just have to trust in my ability to comprehend instructions, and I should take courage in knowing that so many have paved the way in the kitchen before me. Thanks to them the whole experience of cooking truly can be a joy. Enjoy!