Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spastic Chicken

Today I decided to tackle the frozen whole chicken that was in our freezer. Since becoming not Vegan I thought I should handle the carcase of of the animal I'm about to eat. Really get face to face with my dietary choice. One of the many reasons I became vegan was partially being afraid of not being able to cook meat properly. The only time I remember actually helping to make a chicken breast was when I was 12 and I made it in the toaster oven. I put in some red wine and was only slightly turned off when the chicken came out discolored. That was my only memory of ever cooking chicken on my own, I just never do it. Salmonella, botulism, and other ways of giving myself food poisoning have kept me far away from cooking my own meat. Nothing bad will happen to you if you cook tofu and vegetables wrong!

A few weeks ago Dan and I made Albondigas, my grandmother's recipe for meatballs, that I've been really wanting to make but couldn't muster up the courage on my own. So with all my trust placed in him, Dan and I made them together. Then last week I had my first experience cooking them alone and didn't poison either of us (yay! whoo! I was half terrified, half excited.) My grandmothers recipes are primarily responsible for getting me off the vegan train and I want to prepare them all and make a legible recipe book of them before committing again to the meatless way of life.

Which brings me back to today where I thought, "Hey why not tackle that whole chicken?" So after much texting with Dan, that I in fact could do this and the steps it would take to get said chicken unfrozen, I filled the sink with cold water and started to become slightly frantic when the Ziploc freezer bags kept it afloat. Over the course of about four and a half hours I rotated it in the water and tried to find odd things to weigh it down with, to no avail.

Then it was time to take it out of the bag...

With a sour look on my face and trying not throw up, I handled the cold carcass to rinse it off with cold water and to look inside for the giblet. Not knowing what I was looking for I had to wiki Giblets and confessed to Dan that I didn't know where the the hell giblets would be. Fun Fact: "If the heart and kidneys might be loose in the cavity, they'll be obvious". Well there was definitely nothing obvious loose inside so I went back to rinsing as I whispered tender "I'm Sorry"'s after having immersed my hand into the animal. That's when I started to remember the video I had stumbled upon hours after taking the bird from the freezer:

The video is about a slaughterhouse with some foul practices and is narrated by Sam Simon, who is pretty awesome; Co-creator of the Simpsons he's donating money and the time he has left, (after being diagnosed with terminal cancer) to animal welfare. So as I dried off the cold wrinkly skin and whispered "Sorry" again to this fowl, I sincerely hoped that enough reiki and salt would cure any trauma this chicken incurred under my hands and the hands before it.

Then I really got spastic. It was time to actually put the thing in the crock pot. I was determined to use the slow cooker to make something, and had Googled: Crock pot whole chicken. I found a few recipes but none that I had all the ingredients for so I meddled them all together. This is the recipie I came up with:

Step 1: Unfreeze the chicken. Keep it in the bag and immerse that in very cold water for a few hours (Aprox. 4.5)

Step 2: Run around the kitchen picking out herbs. I had salt, pepper, ginger, cayenne pepper, and fresh basil.

Step 3: One recipe from Wellness Mama said: I’ve also heard of stuffing the chicken with an onion, apple or orange for more moistness and great flavor. So I did it, I shoved an apple inside this poor chicken. I also cut the apple to make it fit... The same recipe also called for butter at the bottom of the crock pot, so in went half a stick.

Step 4: Now clearly thinking I was overcompensating for not having any celery or rosemary and that maybe all these ingredients were not going to work, I thought it was time to open a Fat Squirrel Beer. A beer that Dan and I got in Wisconsin at a very dimly lit bar/liquor store called the Hammond. A few sips got my nerves down and I squeezed a lemon over the chicken, then slathered the skin in all the seasonings, and placed it breast down into the crock pot.

Step 5: Adding 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped onions, and carrots the bird was pretty covered up when I thought I might as well add some of the beer to the mix as well.

Step 6: Cover and turn on high for 6hrs.... and wait...

I finished the last sip of beer and opened another as I hoped I hadn't overdone it with the seasoning...

UPDATE: It turned out awesome! When the 6 hours were up the meat fell smoothly off the bone and tasted delicious. The sauce at the bottom with the carrots and onions was really nice on rice beside the chicken. Looking forward to sandwiches and soup all week!

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