The Great Chicken Debacle

November 1, 2010 § 2 Comments

Okay so let me preface this by saying that as a married couple, we try to be shopper savvy–like most all smart people in an economically depressed time, I’m sure–so when Stop-N-Shop had whole chickens for only 99 cents a pound and it was a buy one get one free deal, well, I jumped at the chance and bought 2.  My entire thought process was, “Wow, this is too cheap to pass up.  And, I’m sure I can cut this whole thing up, I mean, my mom does it all the time.  It won’t be that hard.”

So I decide to make cranberry chicken, my grandmother’s recipe, one night for dinner.  I had set the chicken out the night before to thaw out in the refrigerator and was just getting ready to cut it up before I went to work that afternoon.

This is what the chicken looked like before I set about chopping it to bits:

Alright, so I’m smart enough to figure out that the obvious first step is to take off the packaging:

And right about when I get ready for step 2–using a knife on the poor bird–I get a call from my husband, saying that he has to come to town for a meeting and is going to stop by for lunch.  So of course I promptly take a step away from the poultry to get a lunch ready for the two of us before tackling step 2.

Well, here’s the thing, no one told me cutting up a chicken is a lot easier said than done.  I honestly and truly think there should be some sort of new housewife manual that is mandatory to be given at any and all bridal showers, because I really could’ve done with some help.  Of course, being the very independent person I am, I was convinced that I absolutely and positively could do this alone and without help.  After all, my mom can do it, why can’t I?

Butcher knife in my hand, I stand in front of the sink, turning the chicken over and around, looking for those dotted lines with the tiny picture of the scissors next to them like on those kindergarten cut-and-color sheets they give you, because I’m sure that stuff is drawn on here somewhere.  How else does my mother and my grandmother and my aunts know how to cut up a whole chicken?  Not by pure innate knowledge.  No, there’s definitely an instruction manual that goes with it.

Of course, I can’t find those dotted lines, and there aren’t any instructions on the clear plastic chicken wrapping (I checked, I pulled it back out of the trash and searched the thing all over for the directions but there weren’t any).  So I decided to just go for it.

I do know that I need to pull all the innards out, but I couldn’t figure out how to open the thing wide enough to reach my hand in and get them, so that wasn’t working.  And my butcher knife wouldn’t cut through the skin.  I decided to put my 4-years of college intellect at practice though:  the drumsticks.  I know the legs get cut off, so I work on pulling them apart.

I didn’t know I needed intellect and a Jillian Michaels brawn; however, because no matter how much I pulled and tugged, those legs were not breaking off.

There I was, half bent over the kitchen sink, my face almost buried in chicken butt, pulling on the legs and grunting very, very embarrassingly loudly, when my husband shows up at the doorway and says, “What the heck are you doing?”

This, my friends, this is what I was doing to the poor, poor bird:

I know what you’re thinking:  Call up PETA cause this is animal cruelty.  And I certainly wouldn’t blame you.  But you see, my dinner had to be cooked, and this chicken had to come apart.

After hours of pulling and tugging and grunting, the bird wouldn’t come to pieces.  I actually ended up transporting it to a friends house and had her show me how to do it, because I just had no idea.

Don’t worry, though, the moral of this story is that yes, I did indeed cut it up and figure out how to cut up and cook all future chickens.  And I don’t think the chicken suffered any the worse, because my dinner sure was tasty.

And to ease your minds, I have cooked the other chickens since, and they’ve been quite tasty!

This was tonight’s dinner, actually:

And no, it’s not burnt.  I put a chile rub on it, because I’m not a fan of just a salt and pepper flavor on my roasted chicken.  This rub is a mixture of chili powder, brown sugar, oregano, salt, and something else that good ol’ Martha wrote down for me.  It’s my new favorite way to eat roasted chicken.

To celebrate my third (!!) time of cooking a whole chicken, I decided to make my first ever apple pie! Which has no funny story to it, because it turned out very nicely the first go around.  Of course, I used a pre-cooked crust because I didn’t feel like going to the trouble of making my own–we’re in the middle of a major cleaning of the apartment, and I didn’t want to dirty up too many dishes for the husband to wash–so I bought a pillsbury crust.

I used a recipe from a cookbook I got at a bridal shower.  It’s a Maple Cream Apple Pie, and it’s so good I couldn’t eat a whole piece cause it’s so rich.  Although, that might be because I was eating lots of these before I cut into the pie:

I had a lot of leftover innards, so my husband showed me how to fry them.  They were really good because the cream is made up of a lot of maple syrup, which caramelized in the frying pan and gave the apples a crunchy-ness to their softness.

And this is how I spent my halloween.
Hope yours was just as happy!

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