Friday, November 5, 2010

The One With a French Friday: Roast Chicken

Warning: If you are a militant vegetarian or just incredibly squeamish, you may want to skip this entry. I'm just saying.

Also! I'd like to thank people who've been leaving me comments. I'm not sure how to deal with them, and I want to explain this so people don't think I'm ignoring them.

I read them all (obvs, since I have to approve them), but I don't always respond to them because I'm not sure if people come back to read the responses. So if you've left me a comment and come back to see if I've responded, and I haven't, please don't think I'm a jerk. I just don't know the proper etiquette.

On to French Friday!

Full disclosure: I'm a baker above all else. I love cooking, and I love preparing meals, but baking is where it's at for me. As a result of this, I have never in my life (until this project was completed) cooked a whole chicken. I've eaten many chicken nuggets, and I've handled cutlets of chicken and stuff like that, but a whole chicken, all pieces intact? Never before.

That was until I came into contact with Clyde.

Yes. I named my chicken. I had to. Because otherwise, I never would have gotten through the horrifying, horrifying experience of cooking this whole freaking chicken.

The recipe name is Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux. This translates into "Roast Chicken for Lazy People." So, in other words, ideal for me.

Here are the players:

I'd like to apologize now for the lesser quality photos in this entry. . .D was out working when I did this project, and all I had was my camera phone. Which is a fine little phone, but just not as good as usual.

There's a weird thing in this recipe. Dorie says that if you put a piece of bread in the bottom of your pan, and then put the chicken and everything on top of it, you'll have a lovely treat when all is said and done. And who am I to argue with Dorie?

That's actually two slices of bread. My rationale here was that if it was that great, I'd like to have one for D when he got home. (That didn't quite work out like I'd planned. Read on.)

I chopped up the veggies. . .

And then there was the garlic. . .the recipe said to chop the head in half, horizontally, and to leave it unpeeled. Even though I'm all about not arguing with Dorie, that didn't make sense to me. I don't want papery things in my chicken. So I compromised and took the outer papery skin off and put half the pieces in the chicken, as directed, and half of them around it.

So then we get to the chicken. Now, mind you, I have, as I mentioned, never in my life done this before. I was under the impression that all of the organs would be collected for me in a little bag, and all I'd have to do is stick my hand up this poor chicken's ass (Sorry, Clyde) and pull out a paper bag.

As a side note, I feel that this picture below looks like a bulldog. A one-eyed bulldog. D said it looked like something more obscene. You be the judge.

This was not so. As I found out later, they only do that for turkeys. Not for poor chickens.

So what does this mean? It means I have to stick my hand all up IN this chicken and get all of its innards out. This means that I stuck my hand up in there to feel around, got nauseous, and had to put on rubber gloves in order to finish the task at hand.

(Um, yes. I'm wearing a shirt. It's a tank top.)

I'm scrounging around in poor Clyde to get all the organs out. I think I've got them all, so I stand him up (as you do). . .and his liver fell out, giving it the distinct impression that this chicken had just taken a crap in my kitchen sink.

I dropped him back on the plate like he was a. . .chicken that had just taken a crap in my kitchen sink. At about this point, I was ready to give up and wait for D to get home and take care of this disaster for me. (That's what guys do, right?) But then I thought, no, Sarah, this is YOUR French Friday and YOU will stick your hand into that chicken's inner cavity and remove all of the things that used to be life-sustaining organs before it just became a chicken on a plate from Valentine's Day in your sink.

So I did.

When all was said and done. . .

I had a liver, a gizzard, a heart, two kidneys and. . .two necks.

Two necks??

Clyde was a freak of nature.

Next came the trial and error of trying to get this damn chicken into the pot.

It was done and done with finesse.

He went into the oven. Then the veggie were added. An hour and a half later, Clyde emerged a new man chicken.


(Um, I know he looks discolored and not fully cooked, but that's the light, not Clyde.)

The chicken was moist, and tender, and freaking DELICIOUS. And I survived it. Oh, and D loved it, too. He said it was excellent.

Oh, and as for the bread? What ended up happening there is because I stacked two pieces on top of each other, one side of it was soggy and chicken juice-ladden, and the other was crispy and gorgeous, with the consistency of light melba toast. I was put off by the soggy side, but I decided to taste it (because, hey, I'd already had my hand up a chicken that day) and it was amazing. I was going to eat half of it and see if D would be willing to try it when he came home, but half became 3/4, and then it was gone.

Gone, like Clyde's dignity.

There's the story of my first chicken-cooking experience. I survived it. Clyde. . .well, he didn't survive it, but he WAS delicious. And I'll be back next week for another installment of French Fridays with Dorie!


  1. ROFLOL!

    Too darned funny!

    Thanks for sharing the giggles...and thanks to Clyde too...for giving his all!

  2. Tee Hee....I love that you named your chicken Clyde. :) He looks totally yummy. :)

  3. Great post on Clyde's sacrifice. Seems he had no complaints even when his liver fell out! Your chicken looks delicious. Great for chicken sandwiches today if there's any left.

  4. So funny! I love to read about people's first experiences handling chickens and yours was classic! So glad your survived and had a great roast chicken to boot!

  5. congrats on surviving your first roasted chicken, especially considering you had to pick out all the organs on your own!

  6. This was hysterical. I was already chuckling when I read your etiquette on comments, comment. I am struggling with the same because I don't want want to offend anyone who leaves a comment but I am not sure what the expectations are....needless to say I was already chuckling before reading your chicken story. I am doing that recipe this week so your notes were actually a big heads up and help. I am planning to eat that bread before anyone else in the family even knows about it.......

  7. Nice. Also? Gross. haha :)

    Wasn't Clyde also the name of the gross little dead spider that we found in the light in your old car that we couldn't ever figure out how he got in there in the first place?

  8. lmao I love this entry. I laughed all the way through it!