Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cheap Serenity (for new Parents)

Buy a cheap bottle of wine. By cheap, let's say 10 bucks for a standard sized bottle, and up to a whopping 15 bucks for a larger one (most Chilean red is pretty good and fits the above criteria). Then buy a chicken. If you're me, you buy a Halal chicken at Nasr Foods on a Saturday afternoon while on a trip to buy a cheap tin of Olive Oil (Turkish this time, Greek the time before, Lebanese before that).

The chicken comes to around 6 bucks. Buy 3 good sized potatoes with red skins for a dinner for two. And a bunch of green onion. And a fine, fat lemon.

Get it all home. If there's cat hair under the couch, and you're the type to care, sweep it up. It endangers the cheap decadence- can you eat a chicken dinner while thinking "This would be perfect if there wasn't cat hair under the couch"? And if you can, skip the cat-hair-sweeping stage entirely.

Get a good sized knife, cut the back out of the chicken. Kitchen shears do just as good a job, but lack the satisfaction of using a knife. Fling the back and the giblets of the bird into the freezer to boil up into stock at some point. And if you've got more than one bag of neck and giblets in the freezer, you're obviously deluding yourself and will never make stock. Toss out BOTH the fresh and frozen back/giblets and sleep in peace tonight.

Rub salt and pepper into the skin, and some of the spice of your choice. Tumeric is nice and subtle. Paprika works nicely. Want a brown skin? Spoonful of Dijon and one of brown sugar, it'll carmalize into something tasty. Then fling the bird into the fridge so it can take a few moments to think about what it's done.

Cut up the potatoes nice and small. Toss in a bit of olive oil (the key word being 'bit', think of a spoonful or two) and the green onion, top to bottom. Salt and pepper to taste, don't be stingy with the salt. Got rosemary in a spice rack somewhere? Add it. Mix it all together.

Put the potatoes in a roasting pan. Put the backless chicken on top of the pile of potatoes. If it doesn't cover all the potatoes, so be it. The ones not protected by the bird will just be all the browner and crunchier.

Now...squeeze the whole lemon over the bird, put in a 450 Fahrenehit oven for around 50 minutes. Waste some time by doing something productive and parenty for said 50 minutes (a nap is a fine idea, or if the babe is awake, having a brief exploration of the back garden is a fine idea). The potatoes will cook under the bird, releasing lots of steam which will keep the bird tender. The green onion will infuse the bird, and the lemon will infuse the potatoes. The brown sugar will almost blacken, producing a crispy, dark, sweet skin.

Take it out, and use the same heavy knife to split the bird in two right up the middle. Put each half on a plate with a heap of potatoes. Drink a glass of red wine and wonder why people insist that one must necessarily have white wine with white meat. The townhouse will smell like roast chicken and lemon. It will feel like food, not sustenence. It will feel like home.

Hey, why no pictures? Asks nobody.

Laptop and no easy link to FTP. Better pics next time.

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