On a particularly enthusiastic whim I decided to get two chickens, one with which to revisit poulet roti and the other to debone. The following video was both the catalyst and the instruction for what follows. Also a very strong catalyst for ongoing jokes where we try to mimic Jaques Pepin’s accent with “party” and ”pointy bits”. Oh man!

So we went out and got two organic chickens. With the first we followed the same steps followed in my previous post, way back when. Pushing butter in under the skin, then trussing, not with twine, but by folding the legs over each other then each ankle through a slit in the skin. If the legs aren’t crossed the bird doesn’t seem to really hold together. I think we were slightly closer to Bourdain’s instructions but who knows.. Maybe he sits the chicken on its legs? As before, baking under a moderate heat to start with then turning up for the last part of the cooking. It worked a treat, was tender, not dry, perfectly brown all over the outside, yet didn’t strike the fear of leptospiridiumosis into my heart. The gravy was amazing as before. We held back on the butter, but the takeaway lesson is to cook the chicken with half an onion and half a glass of wine (and giblets if you have ‘em) in the pan, then the gravy is half done at the end..

While the first chicken was roasting we set about deboning the second, which – I should point out – is a diversion from the book. If you watch the video now, which I highly recommend you do, you will see him make a ‘lollipop’. I followed his instruction then my sous chef did the same on the other wing. We both nailed it first time. Boning out the drumstick then breaking the bone and removing it cleanly really is achievable as it looks. The thing that I really came away with was that you could apply a lot of the techniques here to any animal that has a rib-cage. I have read about butchers and chefs referring to parts of their own body when talking about cuts of meat and now I get it. I know, it sounds sick, and it kindof is, in a Silence of the Lambs sort of way. What can I say?

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I took a break while my trusty sous chef stuffed the chook with burghl, lemon, parsley, and olives then trussed it up as instructed and roasted it. This seems like the sort of thing one would be required to master in culinary school. Maybe after finely chopping a hundred onions and assembling the perfect Mirepoix. I feel like somehow the experience has taken us up a notch in the world of being at least adequate cooks.

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