A Whole Chicken

Ingredients
  • a whole chicken, of course
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon wedges (optional)
  • garlic cloves (optional)
  • herbs (optional)
Instructions
  • Thaw your chicken. You can do this by leaving it in your fridge or using a cool water bath, but don't leave out on your countertop. 
  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Remove giblets.
  • Pat chicken dry. 
  • Lather in oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  • Place lemons, garlic, and herbs (if using) inside the chicken—I used 5 garlic cloves, 4 lemon wedges, fresh marjoram, and fresh sage—Put the chicken in the pan. Breast side up.
  • Lower over to 400°F and roast for 50 minutes. 
  • Check the temperature of the chicken. It should be 165°F. If not, put in the oven for ten minute increments, checking the temperature between each. 
  • Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before you carve. 

Metaphors for Phife, wait I mean life

The only thing that can illustrate the whirlwind 2016 has been is a roasted chicken post on a vegetarian food blog. (If you actually care about roasting a chicken, please scroll down. I'm sorry.)

So far, 2016 has been fucking weird. At least I've learned a lot. I will share the insight that you, dear reader, care about the most: food is the perfect metaphor for life.

Take, for instance, the post in early January that never made it to you. I commited to cooking a vegetable demi-glace and had big plans to post process shots. I even got a few. Hours4 to be exact—went into this venture of roasting vegetables. There were additional hours dedicated to research, shopping, and prep, but we just won't go there. As I removed the demi-glace from the oven, a mere 20 minutes away from having a reduced, umami packed demi-glace, I spilled the entire fucking tray. The time that went into making the essential pantry staple was shattered in a mere 2 seconds. I was truly heartbroken and visibily shaken as I cleaned my kitchen floor alone and silent.

A 47 day stint with veganism made one thing clear: I was denying myself. I tried to fill the void. And in some moments I did. Like, with cashew goat cheese (make this, guys). Deep down, though, I knew that something was missing. I wondered if I needed a little freedom, an opportunity to explore food.

I began to reconsider my identity as a vegetarian. On Easter, I consumed meat for the first time in over 3 years. I can't say that eating meat was anywhere near as good as I thought it might be. At no point did I think, "Oh my God, this is what my life is missing". Even when I ate barbeque—the one thing I truly missed. The experience as a whole has been sub-par, and frankly, disappointing. 

I was convinced eating meat would give me the freedom I craved. In my mind, freedom meant more options, which would make food preparation easier and faster. Soaking lentils, beans, and nuts always seemed like such a time consuming burden. But, getting my protein from an animal hasn't saved time. There are still thawing and marinating times to consider and in general, longer cooking times. One also has to consider the bacteria (um, what the fuck) and my general ineptitude can't be ignored. Learning a whole new set of rules certainly doesn't save time. Eating meat again has not brought me to the other side. If anything, it has reinforced my decision to be a vegetarian and made me realize how easy being a vegetarian really is. And, how much I love it.

What was missing was not freedom after all. In hindsight, freedom wasn't even what I was after. All I wanted, and still want, is time.

 


 

Cool. Enough metaphorical bullshit, right? Let's get to the meat of the post. (See what I did there? Come on, you know that was funny.)

I bought my chicken from Acorn Acres in Chesterton. You should, too. 

I used The Kitchn as a resource for everything. This is really no different than usual as it is literally a cooking school online. Take that CIA. (I mean, not really. I'd die to train in the same place as my personal Jesus, Anthony Bourdain.)

Specifically, you're gonna want: How to Roast the Perfect Chicken

And then you're gonna need to carve that bad boy. Or, girl? I assume this was a hen.

 

What about the juices in the pan? Mind your own biscuits and life will be GRAVY. I didn't use a recipe here. I just added the following to the drippings:

Keep whisking it over heat. Get the consistency you prefer by adding more water to thin it out or more flour to thicken it up.

What about that chicken skeleton? Don't throw it out. Especially if you have a dog because that shit will kill your dog—and dealing with a dog carcass is far more difficult than a chicken carcass. I don't know where this is going, so anyway, make chicken stock and thank yourself later for being a responsible adult. And not killing your dog.

Enjoy your time, guys. Eat some fucking chicken and love life. 

Chris Stapleton

Traveler

This is jazz, this is soul, this is funk, this is gospel; this is santified sick, this is player pentecostal; this is church, front pew, amen, pulpit; what my people need and the opposite of bullshit

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