Friday, June 3, 2011

One Bird, Many Ways

Years ago, I took it upon myself to learn how to roast a whole chicken because it was a cheap and delicious way to prepare a week's worth of food on a Sunday. Dark meat goes great with pasta or rice dishes. White meat gets chopped up for salads. On the low end, a whole bird could cost $4 and on the high end, maybe $10. For the frugal, that's pretty damn awesome.

Basic Roasted Chicken, Garlic Roasted Asparagus

In my previous post, Bourdain's quote is referring to chefs/restaurants and not the home cook. I'm inclined to agree with him. When I go out to a nice restaurant for the first time with friends, I'll often opt for whatever roasted chicken they have on the menu. First, for economy (it's usually a cheaper option) and second, to see what the chef is all about. If a good restaurant can't roast a chicken, something is terribly wrong.

But despite Bourdain's objections, a brined bird can get away with a preparation as simple as salt and pepper with some olive oil. Garlic goes a long way and a melange of chopped herbs is an upgrade. Dijon mustard makes it majestic. If the bird is butterflied prior to roasting, the backbone can be saved in the freezer for making homemade chicken stock.

At the end of the day, we're talking about how resourceful we can be in the kitchen. What are we eating, what are we re-using, what are we throwing away? We're a little more independent when we can control those processes at home. I'm not trying to suggest that we have to carry this over into how we consume all animals, but a chicken is manageable.

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