Now doesn’t that just sound incredibly appetizing? The word “crusty” really invokes a sense of concupiscence, doesn’t it? No? Well, I’m sure you’ll change your mind soon enough.
Normally I like to start these posts off with a little intro, some bantering about what’s culminated from my week thus far, yaddy-yaddy. But there will be none of that piffle today. Today I’m diving right into the Tutorial, because well . . . this is just too good to put off for any length of time. Later this week I write a separate post about:
“How I lost my mind trying to write a synopsis”
“How I arrived at Sunnyside Institution”
For now, let’s put all insanity aside, shall we? I’m confident I’ll find it right where I left it when I’m finished; which is, grinning at me from the inside of a sink drain.
Ahem, moving on . . .
You are in for a HUGE-MONGOUS treat today! Michael and I literally exhumed a chicken. Well, maybe not exhumed, exactly, but we certainly extricated one.
You’ll have to forgive me, but it’s been a week or so since we did this, so I can’t quite recall how we arrived at the decision to make this meal.
I believe it went something like this:
Cara: “What are we going to make for dinner this week?”
Michael: “Hm — I don’t know. Oh, wait . . . The other day I read about something cool.”
Cara: “Yeah? What was it?”
Michael: “This chef made this sort-of cast for a chicken.”
Cara: *gasps* “Why on Earth would such a reprehensible atrocity occur?”
Okay . . . I didn’t say that part. What I really said: “A cast? What kind of cast?”
Michael: “It was to keep the chicken moist while it cooked. It’s just dough that hardens over the chicken. Wanna try it?”
And there you have it; a look into the minds of two utter geniuses. 🙂
Ingredients (for two whole chickens)
- 2 whole young chickens
- one large sweet onion
- 2 red bell peppers
- celery (with leaves)
- crushed garlic
- fresh rosemary
- fresh thyme
- Bay Leaves
- 1 Orange
- ground pepper
- Grill Mates marinade seasoning packets (one for each bird)
- olive oil
- apple cider vinegar
- coarse kosher salt (substitute with rock salt for less salty flavor)
Step #1 Prepare the chicken stuffing
Chop the onion, bell peppers, celery (and the leaves), garlic and put in a large bowl. Add about 1tbs olive oil and apple cider vinegar, and fresh ground pepper. Mix and set aside.
Step #2 Prepare the Chickens
Remove the innards, and rinse the birds well. Pat dry with a paper towel, removing any excess fluid. Place 1 orange quarter in each bird with a few sprigs of rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. Fill the rest of the bird full of the veggie mix. Set aside.
Step #3 Prepare the dough
For each bird, mix a separate batch dough since it is a large amount. Each batch consists of 8 cups of flour, 2.5 cups of salt, and 3.5 cups of water. Mix well. Put a layer of dough on bottom of pan that has been lined with foil (about a 1/2 inch thick. This should use about 3/4 of one of your dough batches.
Step #4 Dry Rub and Cover the birds
Use the seasoning packets to “dry rub” each bird. Make sure to rub the seasoning over each side. Place each bird in a roasting pan, or in separate pans, and cover completely with the rest of the dough, connecting with the dough on the bottom to seal it in. ***Note: the dough dries quickly, so use it right away to cover the birds. Make sure you put a “dough” divider between the birds so they are in their own “pocket.”
Step #5 Oven Roast
Cook the chickens at 400 degrees for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. Since the chicken is trapped in the dough, it will stay moist even though the dough will start browning. Best to cook longer.
Step#6 The Reveal
Cut around the sides of the dough, creating a lid. Lift the lid slowly and check out your birds! Cut into the leg and thy area to see if the meat is fully cooked. If it’s still pink, no worries! Simply place the “lids” back on snugly and cook some more.
You can use the leftover vegetable mix to roast in the oven with some potatoes, freshly cut herbs, garlic, salt, pepper, orange juice and olive oil. When it’s all done, add the veggies from the bird for more flavor!
The chef samples his labor.
This is what it should like when you remove from the oven. If, after removing the mold, you find the chicken a bit underdone, you can stick it back in the oven and back in increments of 15-20 minutes.
Now, if you remember, last Tuesday I told you that this week’s tutorial would feature my very first ancillary “vlog”. And so you shall have it! Below you will find the words “Opening of the Crusty Chicken” in red lettering. If you highlight the the whole thing, then right click, you will then be given the option to “Open in another tab”. Do that. This will indeed open another window where a YouTube video should pop up.
A few words . . .
This was an exciting moment for us. We had no idea how it was going to turn out, because simply, we were not following any recipe. We had vague suggestions/instructions to guide us through part of the process, and the benefit of having my Mother-in-Law present, one of thee most amazing cooks I know, but really this was by all means “an experiment”. (Rich, I just thought of you when I used the word “an” LOL. Sorry, random.) Anyhow . . . in my excitement, I experienced a brain sparkle (My brain does not fart; that’s just gross.) and completely forgot that we had titled our recipe “Crusty Chicken”. In the video, I refer to it as either Crispy or Crunchy Chicken. Neither of these is correct, and I knew it, but there is no backspace button in live filming, so forgive me, please, for my error.
My voice: does it really sound like that? I swear I don’t know who that woman is speaking . . . I sound approximately eleven years old. In my mind, I believe I sound like a cross between Angela Lansbury and Marilyn Monroe. It’s my dream; i’ll have it if I want it.
Don’t expect to see me. Earlier that afternoon I had given my face the full works: scrubbing, exfoliating, masking, peeling, moisturizing. While my skin could not have been more pleased, my complexion was that of a glistening butterball turkey. I was shiny. So, you will see a few members of my family, including the handsome semi-progenitor of this recipe.
After the reveal
Should everything go right, this is what your chickens should look like.
Sitting down to eat in bliss . . .
Until next time . . .