There are some things that we just learn from our mothers. Who learned it from their mothers. Who learned it from their mothers. And well, the original “Mother” who started all of this… Who told her how to do it, do you suppose? I suspect she just tossed something in the oven, at a particular angle, and it came out pretty good… So she told her daughters to do the same. And it’s worked ever since.
I think I will be one of those women. One of the ones who just… Figure it out, and then tell their kids, who can tell their kids, who can tell their kids… Well, you get the point. And we’ll be a well-fed family. Always eating delicious things… ‘Cause someone, way-back-when, learned the magic touch to making everything just as it ought to be.
Now. Before I go on, I must give credit to the two greatest cooks I know– my mother and my grandmother. They have taught me many things, and I will continue to learn, the best I can, from them. But… Well, let’s just say, there are some things you’ve kinda have to learn on your own. Because no matter how many times you’re told to “Just bake it,” the instruction “Bake” doesn’t always yield the best bakage. You’ve gotta know how to be the master of the oven, rather than letting the oven master you. And that, I’m afraid, comes with experience.
Today I decided that I wanted to make a moist chicken. IN THE OVEN. Oh yes. The problem was, unlike Julie Powell, I did not have a book to follow… I had tips, notes, experiences, and a bit of the “Meh, whatever” attitude to go by. 😛 Oh, and I also had the internet. Gotta love it! 😉
To be honest though, I mostly went with my mental notes… and tried not to think about what would happen if it didn’t turn out. I was hoping this particular bird wouldn’t come out of the oven too dry to chew… But, to my great delight, it was delicious. And I think my recollections served me well on this particular evening.
Care to know what I did?
First, I took… Well no. That’s a lie. I went shopping.
Then, I took a bit of passed down knowledge from my mom and grandmother. I decided that the chicken would be baked at a lower temperature, for more of a slow-cooked method. I also decided that I wanted to sear the chicken before I baked it, because Oma (my grandmother) always sears her chicken… and it’s always perfect.
Next, I took a bit of knowledge acquired from experience and a bit of reading: Lemon. Have you ever cooked chicken with lemon before?? For some reason, unbeknownst to me, it always is the most tender when you cook it with lemon (I know because I’ve tried). And the added flavor is delicious. So I decided that I was gonna bake it with a whole lemon stuffed inside the cavity of the chicken.
Then I decided that it was much too late in the day to make a whole dinner *itwasteno’clockatnightcoughcough*, so I did NOT use any vegetables… Sad. The pictures would have been so much prettier.
And then, last but not least, I decided to roll up my sleeves and go at it, making any other decisions along the way. So.
First, I rinsed the chicken, and set it aside. Then I thoroughly washed the lemon and cut it in half. Annd… THEN… I seared the chicken with olive oil and a bit of salt.
Once that was all done, I drizzled the chicken on both sides with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and dried rosemary. I finished it by stuffing the lemon inside, and sprinkling the whole thing with ground black pepper.
Then into the oven it went! I baked it for about an hour at 325 degrees F, and then started basting it every 10 minutes or so until it was done. I also took the lid off for about 30 minutes to let it brown a bit.
All in all, it took about 1 hour and 45 minutes (testing with a meat thermometer to see when it was done). And wow. It’s delicious. Here I am, at midnight, eating like I’m at Oma’s house. This is the life.
What did I learn from this? Well, I made another mental note: Do this again.
Back next week!