I am the first to admit that cooking meat is my culinary weak spot. Touching raw meat grosses me out. The idea that it could leave all sorts of nasty germs all over my kitchen freaks me out further. Really, I could go on & on about my beef with cooking meat, but I’ll spare you.
I don’t mind eating it so much, especially at your house. That strategy does not provide me with chicken noodle soup upon demand though. Having exhausted my freezer supply of (donated) leftover chicken & Thanksgiving turkey, I realized I had a forgotten bird at the bottom of a chest freezer. I had bought it at market when I was feeling bold one day, clearly.
I have roasted a chicken exactly once in my life. Pat had helped our friends at Open Gate Farm process their chickens one Saturday, which paid in chicken. He brought home one freshly butchered chicken which I proceeded to roast. I have learned that roasting your meat before you throw it into the stock pot makes for a superior broth. I figured I could roast the chicken for dinner one night, then make broth, soup, maybe even a pot pie with the remains.
Last summer during the extended move-in celebration*, Kitchen Intern brought a bird down & popped it in my oven one evening. It was quite delish & she made it look so easy. I gathered courage from that & called her for advice. I admitted I had only done this once. She gave me her easy, breezy directions and off I went. How hard could this be?
I followed her directions – salting the interior, stuffing it with garlic (and half a lemon just for kicks since I had no fresh herbs due to the snow on my garden), coating it with olive oil & sticking it in the oven. Not wanting to trust my ‘intuition’ on this one, I looked up the proper temperature at upon a chicken is considered ‘done’ while pulling out my trusty kitchen thermometer that mostly gets used making buttercream frosting.
After the correct amount of time recommended to me by KI, the chicken smelled divine. The skin looked crispy & golden. I checked the temperature, but noticed my thermometer was behaving sort of weirdly – it kept alternating between Fahrenheit & Celcius, but was definitely not registering the proper temp. I chalked it up to a dying battery and decided the chicken was probably done anyway. I pulled it out of the oven & proceeded to finish the rest of dinner – mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce (per Edie’s request) and salad. I had everything ready to go & began to carve the chicken. Two cuts in, I realized the bird was indeed not done. It was a scene straight out of my childhood, one I had purposely avoided by NOT cooking chicken. Yes, I grew up realizing the chicken I was supposed to eat for dinner was not fully cooked upon biting into it. Yes, it’s gross and it supposedly can make you sick. I am here to tell you it can also make you stronger with an aversion to chicken.
Apparently the chicken, despite spending three days in the fridge defrosting, was not entirely thawed when it went into the oven. Not only was I incapable of properly roasting a chicken, I can’t even defrost it properly. Sigh.
This is why I stick to things I know. Bread, chocolate cake, pickles. Undercooked tofu never made anyone sick.
Eventually, the damn thing was done. We ate it. The people in this house that like to eat meat were quite pleased that I served a meal based on meat. It was a success. The next day, I popped that carcass into my stockpot with some onion, celery, carrots & other yummy flavor enhancing goodness & I turned it into stock. I picked through the bits & two days later finally got my chicken noodle soup.
*There was a good week (maybe more) last summer where Kitchen Intern & husband, having recently moved into the ‘hood, were child free which happened to coincide with Edie being away at camp. There were a few extended happy hours in which we toasted our fortune at having fabulous new neighbors while being gloriously child free.
16 thoughts on “A tale of chicken soup.”
We would make quite the team. I love roasting a good bird in the oven or the crockpot and am terrified of all things baking (cookies, breads, cakes). I just baked my first, and only, cake from scratch 2 years ago. It took all day and only 1/3 of the thing was eaten.
I think I need to take a bread baking class from you.
Absolutely! I’m firming up my summer canning schedule right now, up next I’ll see if I can’t schedule some baking classes!
On Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 9:28 AM, Chicken Wire & Paper Flowers wrote:
Nice going! I’m planning on Coq au Vin this weekend. For future reference, once the bird is frozen, you have killed the bacteria. When you are ready to thaw it out, put it in a bowl on the counter or unused stove (kept in it’s freezer wrapping to avoid airborne bacteria) for over 6 hours and it should be ready to prepare cook at +350 degrees. Just rinse it off before prepping.
Thank you. I’m calling you next time I attempt to cook any meat in my freezer that is not sausage. That I can do just fine.
On Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 9:41 AM, Chicken Wire & Paper Flowers wrote:
I love making soup, including chicken. Ah, but chicken and dumplings is what I really love making. Of course, I make it the fattening way with cream! It’s a wonderful comfort food for me especially in cold weather.
Cream is always the way to go.
On Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 10:42 AM, Chicken Wire & Paper Flowers wrote:
Raw chicken is gross. My mom used to buy massive quantities of chicken breasts when they were on sale and it was my job to tear the skin off them before we froz them. That turned me off chicken forever. I especially never, ever by bone-in, skin on breasts.
Thank you. Someone else told me they thought raw chicken was gross this week too, so it’s good to know I’m not alone in this.
On Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 2:15 PM, Chicken Wire & Paper Flowers wrote:
Way to persevere. I despise cooking with meat, too. Plus it’s greasy. Ew.
So greasy. I really prefer to just cook bacon, where I can drain the grease off and use it for things like frying my tofu.
On Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 8:11 PM, Chicken Wire & Paper Flowers wrote:
“I could go on & on about my beef with cooking meat, but I’ll spare you.” Beef, meat, spare-I see what you did there. Haha. Raw meat is gross.
I was wondering if anyone was going to pick up on that!
On Sat, Mar 22, 2014 at 8:34 AM, Chicken Wire & Paper Flowers wrote:
I used to find poultry disgusting and would avoid cooking or eating it. Eventually, I started eating it, but wouldn’t touch whole birds. Several years ago, I attempted it and found it ridiculously easy. Most of the time, I throw a chicken in the oven at 350 and do nothing to it (not even salt), except to flip it once about halfway through cooking. I start off breast-side-down so that the juices drip and keep the breasts moist. When I flip it over, I cut into the bird to check for doneness.
It’s also super easy to cook chicken in the crockpot — Throw it in the crockpot, turn it on, and walk away.
My crockpot is seriously underused. Probably because it lives in the basement and when dug out, requires too much real estate of my 2 square feet of counterspace. It also needs to use the one accessible outlet in the kitchen. Kitchen Intern’s method was far quicker & easier, other than the part about defrosting the bird properly.
On Sun, Mar 23, 2014 at 11:09 PM, Chicken Wire & Paper Flowers wrote:
I’ve definitely had similar raw food experiences. ..sometimes with fish. Hope the cranberry sauce was good!
Undercooked fish is far more appetizing than undercooked chicken. Hello, sushi!
On Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 8:13 PM, Chicken Wire & Paper Flowers wrote: