Monday, January 5, 2015

Chef for a Day

     Okay guys, I know I post a ton of recipes onto this blog, but I've never really considered myself a chef.  "Cook" or "Foodie" seem much more appropriate to describe my dabbling in the kitchen.  Yesterday, however, I felt like a real chef for a bit.

     Years ago, I read the novel Julie and Julia and although I heartily enjoyed the story, I had no desire to master the art of French cooking myself.  Yet, when I found this link on Pinterest, my interest was most definitely piqued.  Upon seeing my pin, my sister commented, "Once you master this, blog it with a recipe, then I'll try ;-)".  I laughed it off, and the pin got lost in the sea of other food I wanted to try.  This past week as I was going through my Main Dishes board on Pinterest I rediscovered the pin, and, curious, I finally clicked on it.  I was taken to a site in which the first thing I noticed was the following video.  Before reading anything else I watched video, and I was hooked.  Pepin made deboning a chicken look so easy with his fluid movements and his simple explanations.  After the second viewing, which J watched with me, I decided I would do this.  This statement was met with apathy from J, and a comment of, "okay, but no spinach".  I didn't care; I was going to debone a chicken, stuff it with deliciousness, and serve it for Sunday dinner.  It would be an epic challenge with glorious results that the muses would one day sing about!

     As it got closer to the day I decided to invite some friends over to revel in the glory that is good food.  Then the day actually arrived, and I set to work early in the morning in order to make sure everything was perfect.  I viewed the video once again before getting started.  Confidence oozed out of me as I danced around my kitchen to Alicia Keys' "I am Super Woman" setting out my cutting board, knifes, a pot for all the bones to make stock, my computer so I could reference the video, a kitchen towel, and the garbage can (just in case).  Finally, I was ready to begin.

     I rinsed my chicken and patted it dry.  Then I moved it to the cutting board, and (with my non-chicken-y hand) hit play.  I followed Pepin flawlessly as he cut the wings and made "ze little lolliPOP" (which I threw in the roasting pan with the rest of the chicken).  My confidence wavered slightly as I struggled to remove the wishbone. (He makes it look so easy!)  I got it out finally, though, and was read to move on.  My ego took another blow as I cut the skin of the back, because my cut was not nearly as flawless nor as easy as his.  I blamed his experience and amazing knives and moved onward.  Finding the articulation was easy. (Thank you, Nursing school!)  Then I heard it, that mocking comment Pepin makes right around the 3 minute mark, "It should not take you but a minute to bone out a chicken"....... I frantically looked at the clock and realized I had already been at it for 15 minutes.  (I kept having to call J into the kitchen to pause the video for me.)  I began to wonder if this was all a big mistake, and then I envisioned my friends arriving to see my sloppy chicken that somehow managed to be burned on the outside and raw on the inside.  I comforted myself with the knowledge that they wouldn't judge, and that there was always Domino's in a pinch.  I pressed forward again.  (I didn't literally press anything as my hands were full of chicken goo, but J obliged by pressing the play button.)  At this point my confidence began to grow again as I started to undress the poor chicken.  I had no problems getting the carcass out, and I called jubilantly to J to come feast his eyes on my brilliance.  He obliged by glancing my way and nodding, which I took as adoration and praise.  Next I removed the fillets, apologizing to Pepin for resorting to the use of my knife.  Then Pepin and I scraped the chicken fillet from the sinew.  Next I followed Pepin's lead in taking the bones from the legs and wings, only growing slightly frustrated when my bone did not break on the first hit...or the second...or third, but ultimately, the sixth time was the charm, and we pressed on.  Finally I had a completely deboned chicken.  I celebrated my victory by waving the floppy chicken suit in J's and Monkey's direction while singing, "I deboned a chicken, I deboned a chicken".

     I stuffed my bird with a stuffing of my own creation, the recipe for which I will gladly share below.  I was inspired by this recipe I found, but I meddled with it quite a bit before I was ready to use it.  After stuffing my bird, I tied it up under Pepin's careful guidance.  Finally I was done!  I was so proud of myself for this epic achievement.  All other cooking journeys seem pale in comparison.  For one glorious moment, I was a chef!  Then I came back down to reality this morning as I woke up exhausted and fed my child cereal.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted :-)

Chicken Galantine with Pork Stuffing
1 large whole chicken, deboned
10 red potatoes, quartered
2 large carrots, sliced
2 lemons
1 garlic pod, separated and ends trimmed off
Baby bella mushrooms (I used 1-1/2 8oz containers of mushrooms)
3-5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 tsp garlic salt
minced garlic and 1/2 stick butter (if cooking mushrooms separately)

For the stuffing:
1 cup Garlic and Herb bread crumbs
3 small cloves garlic, peeled
1 onion, peeled and quartered
18 fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup uncooked white rice
5 sausages, skins removed ( I used Johnsonville's Sweet Italian Sausage)
1/2 TBS garlic powder
1 tsp Tony's

Debone chicken by watching Pepin's video (above).  Cook rice.  Combine cooked rice and remaining stuffing ingredients in a food processor until combined.  Stuff chicken as shown in the video using half of the stuffing.  Once chicken is tied up place in a greased roasting pan.  Add potatoes, carrots, and garlic cloves to roasting pan.  Squeeze the juice of one lemon into a bowl; add garlic salt and chopped sage leaves.  Rub over the chicken.  Cut the other lemon in half, and the juice from one of the halves over the carrots and potatoes.  Reserve remaining lemon half.

Remove the stems of the baby bella mushrooms and stuff with remaining stuffing.  arrange around chicken in roasting pan or bake separately in an 8x8 dish with minced garlic and butter.

Cover roasting pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Remove pan from oven; remove and discard foil.  Return roasting pan to oven and bake for another 45 minutes.  Removed chicken from over, and squeeze juice of the remaining lemon half over the chicken.  Return to oven to bake for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile cover mushrooms with foil and bake at 350 for the entire time the chicken is baking, an hour and a half.

Once chicken is cooked through, removed from oven and transfer to a serving platter.

Slice the chicken and serve.  Enjoy!

     I am happy to report that all the hard work was well worth it.  My friends arrived just as this chicken was finished roasting, and we all enjoyed digging into the scrumptious meal immensely.  We had a good night with great food and even better friends.  

1 comment:

  1. That looks delicious, and it's so pretty all tied up to cook! I'm proud of your "real chef" moment!