COOK'S TREAT CHICKEN
Yield: 6 servings
1 Whole frying chicken with -for
-giblets That matter)
4 Pieces of oatmeal bread 1 bn Parsley
4 Or 5 scallions 2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 lb Or so button mushroom (or Salt
-shiitakes or any other kind 1/2 lb Or so of soft butter
First off, make the stuffing. Toast the oatmeal bread about medium brown.
When it pops up, let it sit in the toaster for a few minutes to dry out.
Chop the scallions into pieces about 1/4- to 1/2-inch long. Slice the
button mushrooms or cut them into quarters if they're small. Chop the
parsley roughly. Cut the dried toast into pieces about 1/2 inch square. Put
all these goodies into a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and mix well. Salt
the stuffing to taste. Use pepper too if you like it. I sometimes also add
Bell's Poultry Seasoning.
At this point I reserve some of the stuffing--maybe a quarter or a
third--and add the chopped giblets to it as I find that a lot of folks
don't like them in the stuffing, hard as that may be to grasp. But it works
out good for me, as you'll see. After the chicken is washed and dried,
stuff the critter with the stuffing from the non-gibletted bowl. Back when
I developed this dish-- when I didn't know how to cook--I took the word at
it's face value and *stuffed* the stuffing into the body cavity. Since then
I've heard that it's considered good form to stuff it loosely to allow for
expansion. Don't listen to these lies. Stuff that sucker full!
Heat the oven to between 350 to 400 degrees. Rub the chicken with butter
and salt it. Put the stuffed chicken, breast side up, on a roasting rack in
a pan of some sort with sides about an inch or so high--a big pyrex cake
pan works well. I use one of those racks with the adjustable sides to hold
the bird in place though anything will work except a vertical roaster.
Now here's where the sly part comes in. Have a fork or a pair of chopsticks
handy. I recommend chopsticks if you can use them. You'll see why in a
minute. Take the gibletted dressing and pack it all over the surface of the
chicken, patting it into place. Put the neck where you can reach it to
baste it. Dot the stuffing generously with pats of butter. (This ain't
health food...) Put the bird into the oven and close the door. Don't look
for about fifteen minutes or so. Chat. Entertain your guests. Pour them
some more wine.
After fifteen minutes you, as the cook, will be ready to begin one of the
best meals of your life while your guests sit unsuspecting, waiting for the
bird to be done. When the time has elapsed, start basting with a bulb
baster. Do this regularly and religiously every five to ten minutes or so.
Salt occasionally. The stuffing and giblets on top of the chicken will
start to brown as you baste it with the flavor laden combo of butter and
chicken juices. The toast bits will get crispy. The scallions will add
their luscious juices to the basting liquid. The mushrooms will steam and
beckon. Soon you'll be picking off the browner bits and savoring them. Each
time you open the oven, a new selection of bits will be ready for your
delectation! Try to look harried and pained so your guests won't know how
much fun you're having. Give them some more wine to keep them quite. Have a
little yourself. Maybe serve a salad or something... If any of them get
suspicious, tell them you're "adjusting the seasonings". That should throw
them off the track enough that none of them will be tempted to "help" you
with that arduous task. Heh, heh, heh...
As you gradually clear the stuffing off the surface of the chicken the skin
will begin to brown too. Keep basting! The chopsticks come in real handy
now for retrieving the bits of mushrooms, giblets and whatever that fall
down under the rack. They can get in where it's hard to get a fork. The
dish is done when all the stuffing coating the outside of the bird is in
your stomach and the skin has turned a nice, crispy, savory golden brown.
Take the chicken out, put it on the serving platter and de- stuff it. Serve
with rolls, salads, veggies, mashed taters and gravy (made of course, with
instant mashed potatoes)--whatever your guests like or whatever strikes
your fancy. You won't care. You'll already be full! I generally polish off
a leg and a wing or so just for appearance's sake though. Oh yeah--and I
always make the "sacrifice" and take the perfectly roasted, crispy skinned
neck so my guest won't have to suffer through it...
Two cautions. One about the stuffing. I love it, but it won't taste like
traditional stuffings. It will be redolent of mushrooms, parsley and
scallions, very moist and--to my taste-- quite nice. I really like the
taste of oatmeal bread. Using other bread, you'd probably have to spiff up
the seasonings a bit. The other caution is--do not use garlic! Heresy, I
know, to some folks, but I tried it and it disrupted the nice balance of
For folks who like crispy skin, all the basting produces an excellent
skin--full of flavor and crispy. Good stuff--a meal in itself.
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