no bones about it

Some time ago, back in my youth (so maybe a year ago?), I was reading some cookbook (as I have been prone to do), and discovered a beautiful idea: a boneless chicken roast.

I had, at a wedding once, had a boneless quail. It was quite good, but rather small, and sadly a little dry. A chicken, however, would be big (or big enough). Thus, on finding that little diagram showing how to bone a chicken, it became something resident on my to do list.

Today it has been crossed off.

It is strange removing the skeleton from an animal, fun, and slightly surreal. After some difficulty, I got the rib cage and spine out in one piece, leaving the four limbs to be de-boned separately. My wife thought (and still thinks) it was gross. There were certainly moments that the same opinion flitted across my mind, doing a pirouette before leaving stage left.

Par-boiling some new potatoes, and sauteeing an onion with a healthy dose of fresh ground pepper in an unhealthy dose of butter, I combined it all with some carrot and parsnip to use as the stuffing. Taking garlic, thyme, and rosemary I prepared a butter and herb rub — massaging half of it into the chicken’s skin, and rubbing the other half on the inside along with the vegetable stuffing. Rolling all the goodies up in the bird like a burrito with legs, I shaped the animal to looks something like a chicken. I stuck another hunk of butter in one end, just for good measure, and ground sea salt over the skin, to help seal in the moisture.

Stuck it in the oven, and waited. I figured, that was fun, but an almost two hour prep time is a bit much. It’s crossed off my list, I can move on to other things. Then I tasted it.

I think it might be the best dish I have ever made.

Using the juices, I made a gravy–but it was unnecessary, as the meat was so moist and flavourful on its own. The skin had that perfect crunch that left a turkey at Christmas time skinless before it reached the dinner table. I rarely out-do myself, having rather high expectations for my cooking. I think  I outdid myself, though.

And I already know what to do better next time. Next time? Yes, the next time I decide to painstakingly remove every bone from the body of a silly animal, smother it in delicious butter and fresh herbs, and prop it up with vegetables to make it look like I’ve done nothing to it.

Ah, the vanity of culinary delight.

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~ by jeorgesmith on 21 April 2010.

One Response to “no bones about it”

  1. This has got to be one of your best pieces of writing! And I look forward to having you prepare this meal for me the next time we’re on the same continent.

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