You gotta know, coming up with a daily dinner menu has lately become akin to slamming my right hand in a door repeatedly. And lord help me if I have to roast another damned chicken. Yet, after wandering the meat counter at Rick’s Quality Meats in El Cerrito for a few minutes, I came away with another !@#$%^ whole natural chicken.
I felt bad enough buying one and even worse bringing it home to my family and having to explain we were having another roast chicken. I’d rather do PB & J sammiches than tell them that. What was poor Biggles to do?
Honestly I don’t know how I did it. I pulled myself in to my Happy Gilmore Place and whipped out my Meat Fu (listening to Kraftwerk helps). How the HELL was I going to present this whole chicken as something new? Something worth diving in to? Something anyone would give their left arm to partake in?
Easy peasy and I cut my cook time by 30 minutes.
It wasn’t my birthday, but I felt like it. I gave JLee a call for some help on the finer points, she’s a Jedi when it comes down.
Biggles chose to do a pressed and weighted chicken. What’s that? Well, most of you know, surely. But the deal is you take a hot cast iron skillet and place your backless chicken skin side down and in. Then, take weights and press it down until done. Seems easy, eh? It was.
Wash dry the chicky and cut the back out. Cut or split by pounding the cartilage between the two breasts. Cut out extra fat here and there, make nice. Zest a few lemons or oranges, I did a few oranges. Stuff this zest under all skin you can get to, the breast and thigh portions. Then use a spice rub of your choice, I used Survival Spice. Salt the chicken up and down.
Use a largish heavy skillet that will hold your bird skin side down, heat well and use a dose or two of some higher temp oil other than olive.
Here’s where you need weight. I used an 8″ Camp Dutch Oven lid plus a few other heavy objects. One usually uses foil wrapped bricks from your garden or whatever you need. I hear you don’t need much weight, but I chose to hunker the sucker down but good, skin side down.
Since I had my nice camp lid, I preheated it in a 350 degree oven.
Preheated the cast iron skillet.
When the chicken hit the pan skin side down, we’re talking SIZ-L. Quickly put the heavy parts on and get it in hard.
I chose low to medium heat (medium as a peak), but it’s up to you. With practice you’ll get what you want. The chicky I produced could have been pulled at 25 minutes, easy. A whole chicken at 25 minutes? Yes and it matched my 450F 1 hour roasted bird without question.
To sum it all up, this was a wonderful and easy way to represent the damned roast chicken. You don’t even have to wait until you’re pinched for time, nothing is sacrificed except for time. In fact, I’d easily choose this over other methods only because of flavors.
Well, it’s been a day or two and I know of 2 people who’ve attempted this procedure with little luck. I suppose this isn’t very easy to do, I thought it was. But I’m not everyone and this needs to be recreatable. See, with an oven chicken you can watch the chicken cook and if you cook it for 10 minutes too long? No big deal. But the pressed chicken goes so fast, 5 minutes could be a deal breaker. Check it at 15 minutes, see how it’s doing. If you feel flipping it is necessary, go for it.
In any case, pay attention and don’t give up. If you can get this one under your belt you’re doing well.