roast chicken Tag

Flatten the curve (bird)

”  In this climate where any certainty is elusive at best, I can promise you this…  “

I’ve always been an avid campaigner in the flattening of a bird, a process of turning this hopelessly 3-dimensional animal that insists on uneven heat distribution, into a 2-dimensional disk that crisp up indiscriminately across the plane.  Without the technicality of deboning the entire chicken and armed with only a single kitchen shears and a flat skillet, I’m going to show you how to easily de-joint and de-scaffold a bird so that it can achieve an unequivocally crispy and blistered skin-cap on one side, and slow-cooked therefore succulent and unbelievably juicy meat (even the breasts!) on the other.  In this climate where any certainty is elusive at best, I can at the very least, promise you that you’ll never want to roast another bird after this.

STEP 1:  You’ll be able to finish this entire process with a kitchen shears.  Remove the wing tips and place the bird with the backbone/spine facing the counter.  Then cut through the breast bone to open the bird up.

STEP 2:  Flip the bird over with the skin-side up, then bend and snap/dislocate the joints that connects the thighs to the backbone/spine by bending the thighs 90 degrees upward.  Flip the bird back now with the skin-side down.  With a kitchen shear, completely cut through the joints that connects the wings to the breast (but have them still attached), then remove the triangular breast-bone as seen in this photo.

STEP 3:  To further flatten the bird, cut along the rib cage to separate it from the backbone/spine, then cut through it again somewhere around the mid-point to flatten the natural curvature of the rib cage.  Also cut through the wishbones that connects the shoulder and breast to the rib cage.  Don’t worry, there’s no strict technicality here.  The rule of thumb is disconnect every single joints that holds the bird in shape so that it can be completely opened up and flattened.

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TURMERIC BUTTER CHICKEN RICE

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WHEN YOU RELEASE THE CHICKEN-BAG WITH A SCISSOR OVER THE BED OF COCONUT RICE, ALMOST LIKE GOD-SENT, A STREAM OF PROMISED GOLDEN LIQUID WILL PERCOLATE FREELY INTO EVERY THIRSTY GRAIN OF HAPPINESS THAT YOU’LL ALMOST HEAR THEM PURR.

Hey, I own a shit load of cookbooks, I do.  And I’m not saying it isn’t a problem.  Especially when it’s become a very common first remark that people make when they visit our apartment, noticing from the ungoverned stacks that seem to occupy every flat surfaces of every able furnitures, evidently overrunning our shelving-space that is already working its double-layer capacity.  And my worst fear is that before long, Jason has to kindly ask Thomas Keller to scooch over before he can “relieve” himself, if you see what I mean.  So yeah, there is an issue there.  But you know, I guess it could be reasonably understood.  I mean, for someone like me and for what I sort of do, I guess, it makes sense.  What doesn’t make sense, at all, is that for someone who owns this many cookbooks, I have almost never cooked a recipe from any one of them.  And I mean never, except maybe once but not really, ok?  Because I can’t follow instructions.  Period.  Now this is really bizarre.  For one, I create recipes and expect people to follow them explicitly all the time.  But if you didn’t, don’t fret it, because guess what?  Ha!  I can’t follow a recipe for a damn either!  It’s really more of a severe birth-defect than anything else, like the other day when I absolutely made up my mind that for the first time ever in my cooking life, even if it kills me, I was going to execute a recipe like how the creator had intended, and yet, I still derailed.

The particular recipe that I owe my grave apology to, is the turmeric-rubbed chicken from Eat With Your Hands Cookbook.  Now I have to give myself some credit here.  At first try, I really did manage to change ONLY HALF of the recipe!  Instead of roasting the turmeric-rubbed chicken over lemongrass and coconut milk, I decided it was in both of our best interest to do it over a bed of lemongrass and coconut rice.  The urge of putting a “sponge” underneath a grease-dripping hot body overruled my determination to obey, so I’m sorry for that.  But for the other half of the recipe, including rubbing the chicken with turmeric butter and letting it sit for 24hours, I followed painstakingly.  But the thing is, have you ever tried rubbing butter over the skin of a chicken?  Try sticking a piece of lard on a teflon surface to get a feel of it.  It’s practically impossible!  They just don’t bond!  And even though the butter is sufficiently seasoned, the “emulsion” prevents the seasoning from seeping into the chicken, even after the whole 24 hours of it.  So at the second try, it became inevitable, that in spite of my best effort, I had to sabotage the recipe completely.

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MY FAVORITE ROAST CHICKEN

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IN A NECESSARY IF NOT RELIGIOUS FINALE, YOU ARE GOING TO PICK THROUGH EVERY LAST SNIPPETS OF OFFERINGS ADHERING TO THE REMAINING CARCASS

Hello friends.  This is my favorite roast chicken.

If you were previously convinced that you know roast chicken, or how to do one right, well to that I say, I’m convinced that you don’t.  This is a recipe forged through years of corrections, beginning from the inspiration of Thomas Keller’s roast chicken doused in thyme and garlic butter, and manipulated by my own techniques through experience, then re-polished through a vinegar bath anew.  The chicken is not only accompanied by baby potatoes and garlics roasted inside its own grease, but – yes, I’m not done yet – but it has to, has to, be eaten with a runny sunny-side up.  That’s right.  Chicken and egg, I don’t know why you have to ask.   This is now a roast chicken recipe, with its entirety, a simple elegant yet unbeatably tasty form of perfection, worthy of the ones who are willing to receive it justly.

Because, equally important to the recipe, there’s only a single, correct way to eat this chicken, or any roast chicken for that matter.  One cannot claim to have had a proper roast chicken, if it wasn’t done this way.  That is, you have to devour it with your absolute bare hands.

Assisted with a kitchen-scissor if needed, or not, I command you to tear apart this chicken from limb to limb with at least 8 of your best-able fingers.  Undeterred by the occasional burns and shimmering under a coat of grease, your hands and your hands only, are the tool that’s going to snap the bones, tear through the flesh, pick up the crispy skin, pry the roasted garlics out from their husks, then sauce and mop everything up inside a puddle of thyme/garlic browned butter and runny yolks, and deliver them to the promised land.  Then with ferocious enthusiasm, in a necessary if not religious finale, you’re going to pick through every last snippets of offerings adhering to the remaining carcass, the untold secrets of muscles around the neck, the films of meat in between the ribs, the skins along the back-bone and the twin crown-jewels of oysters… oh God oh God the oysters…  Tell me you know where the fuck the oysters are, chicken-eaters!

Then at last, breath out, and let your rampant emotions settle.  Use your remaining clean pinkies to wipe the grease off of your cheeks then lick them. Take a sip of water, then bow out.

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