This is a before picture of Tuesday night's Julia chicken. I salted the....*gulp*....cavity and put some butter in there too and massaged it lovingly with even more butter and sprinkled on some pepper and paprika and poured a bit of good stock in the bottom of the pan, just a teense, just to keep all that butter from getting stuck and becoming glue-like in my favorite roaster. I even trussed it up to perfection, although I do NOT use a method with a mattress needle as depicted in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1. I don't even know where to get a mattress needle.
In short, I did everything but cradle this chicken in my arms and sing it a touching lullabye before I tucked it into the oven. I checked on it every ten minutes, listening for the typical "cooking noises": roast chicken pops a lot. When I noticed early on that the skin wasn't browning up as much as it should have in that first fifteen minutes of roasting at high heat and then when I didn't hear the snapping and popping from the oven, I began to get suspicious, but after that, I got distracted by my life happening all around me in the form of daughters, dogs and spring cleaning duties, so I just hurriedly basted and left it at that.
So goes my tale of woe. Because when dinner time finally rolled around? That is the precise moment when I realized that the heating element is going kaflooey on my oven. The chicken's skin got kind of brown. Brown-ish. Okay, light brown-ish, and it wasn't even really done on the inside. When I cut the thigh and leg portions off for the girls, the meat was undercooked and I had to put their plates in the microwave to even things up.
That nearly broke my heart, it did.
The breast slices that my husband and I ate were nicely cooked, but the skin wasn't as crackly and delicious as it should have been. It was just kind of limp and greasy, which immediately meant that after about two bites, I pushed my plate away, an action not often seen at my place at the dinner table. I can have some funny ideas about chicken, and the first and foremost -- although there's nothing funny about it -- is that the skin can NOT be limp and greasy and I'm sure you all agree with me. Because YUCK. Even "bleeeaaaaarrrgh."
So I'm going to dice the rest of it up, re-cook whatever needs some cooking, and make a nice chicken salad.
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