Friday, March 18, 2011

Something's A Fowl.... surprises me just how long it takes to thaw out a whole chicken!

Ah. Pardon me for my lack of manners. Perhaps I should explain myself first, eh?  Drumroll…some background information for you, if you please!

For the last several months I have been intent on eating better and learning how to cook. “What,” you might ask yourself, “does she mean learn how to cook? Doesn’t everyone know how to do that?” Well, yes and no. Having grown up under the tutelage of a “farmer’s daughter,” cooking in my childhood home consisted of the rudimentary cold cereal in the mornings, school lunches during the school year or cold cuts on the off-times, and the fairly basic meat and potatoes for dinner.

And, as in any other family of siblings, length of noses, height, personality traits and extraneous talents were divvied up at birth between four girls. Somewhere along the line, my sisters received the latent “cooking gene” in varying degrees, whereby I received the artistic, and storytelling gene, as well as my mom’s chest gene (much to the chagrin of my lovely siblings).

Thus, when I became an adult, married my first husband and had my children, cooking, to me, was pretty much a sustenance-only affair with the basics; spaghetti, baked potatoes and steak, hamburgers, burritos, with the occasional tuna noodle casserole thrown in (ad nauseum).


This mode of operandi had been sufficient for most of my life, with a brief (ok, nearly a complete) stop when I got divorced from my first husband.  That is up until the moment last fall when it occurred to me that the art of cooking just may be in my grasp after all. That “ah hah” moment was spurred by my realization that the dreaded “middle-aged spread” with the heinous “peri-menopausal” scourge had been stealthily creeping up on me - I eagerly (i.e. desperately) started to research healthy recipes. To my complete surprise, I noticed they were easy. Perhaps not all made with the normal pantry stock of items they still looked so…do-able. Had they always been this way, I wondered?

I dove in, and have been quite pleased with the results of my culinary skills to this day, as is the rest of my family. In fact, my grown daughter nearly fainted when she found out about my new-found skill and has been broadcasting the news “Hey, guess what? My mom can cook!”

Accordingly, I have been discovering quite a few eye-opening facts, such as fresh garlic is used in almost everything, and my fingers have been consistently christened with gooey garlic juice to prove it. Another nugget is using a soft round loaf of bread instead of the suggested sourdough or peasant loaf for a muffaletta sandwich is asking for BF Oil sized trouble. I also learned that it is also probably better to peel the lemons in the” Roasted Lemon and Chicken” recipe unless your pucker partner is ready for a peck.

In fact, just this morning I realized another significant actuality after my husband had left for work. After a promise last night that I would briefly return to the afore-made, semi-healthy, and easy stand-by “BBQ’d Chicken in the Crock Pot” for this evening’s dinner, I noticed that I had forgotten to take the whole chicken out of the freezer to thaw. I actually knew I needed to at least get the neck and innards out of the cavity before I popped it into the crock pot for the easy meal.

So, after defrosting it for 10 minutes in the microwave, I still couldn't pull the pieces out so I stood the chicken body up in the sink, and dribbled hot water up the...well, the bottom and let the water pool in the sink and into the bag to help thaw it out. In between, I curled my hair and then checked the chicken again. And grunted. No go.

I continued to let the water dribble into the....bottom and gathered up my lunch for the next 10 minutes.

With that pre-work chore completed, I opened the pantry to get a plastic bag out to put my lunch in, and the mop attacked me trying to escape (along with its buddy, the feather duster). I wrangled the two of them back into their stocks and then relegated them back into dungeon time -I have the bump on the head to prove their daring breakout!
Then I checked the chicken again.

After joisting the neck back and forth several times, I was able to pull it away from the inside and then I rooted around for the....innards. I found two (is that right? only two? I think I actually got two and a half of something but I'm not sure...) innard parts. Then, wondering if I needed to pull anything away from the neck (this chicken most definitely was a body builder as it has some mega that right? You know - the muscle from the neck to the shoulders.

Ah, whatever. In this case, I can say that it had big shoulders and pathetic little wings.) Anyway, I put the chicken back on a plastic plate, and nuked it another 15 minutes in the miscrowave because the neck hole-ish area was still rather rigid with ice.

In the meantime I went and put my make up on (which, as most women know, can take a very long time.)

After I pulled the chicken out of the microwave, the neck hole-ish part was still a little icy, so I sat the bird up on the plate in the sink. But then I started to feel sorry for it, sitting there, forlornly with water dribbling into its headless neck (by this time, the chicken and I had spent the morning getting to know each other pretty well, you know), so I gently rooted around a little more, and let the bird have some peace as I laid it into the crock pot, gave it a wee massage, covered it completely with BBQ sauce, and then turned the pot on to warm its birdy-body (I won't admit to stabbing it in its side in order to pour sauce in under it - once) (ok - maybe I did do that. So what?)

Suffice to say, when I got home tonight, the house was a haven of BBQ chicken aroma, and the Schwarzenegger-shaped poultry was appropriately tender as it fell apart on same-said fork.

I am telling you this because I feel it is one of my civic duties to all of those “who-would-have-known” cooks out there…for stresses-sake, make sure you give yourself ample time to thaw your bird before you cook it!




Isabelle said...

Urg. I was enjoying this till I came to the chicken bit. I'm glad I'm a veggie...

Fire Byrd said...

Course if you are slow cooking all day you could have cooked from frozen..... just sayin'

Linda said...

Defrosting poultry is such a minefield! A watched chicken never thaws...