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EVENT DC: Pullets at 20 paces


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What's better--brined chicken or unbrined chicken? Busboy and I are in two different camps on the issue, so we're going to cook chicken both ways and see for ourselves. Come along for the ride and watch me whup his ass. :rolleyes: We'll also talk about chicken seasoning methodology, enjoy some tasty birds, and share whatever other food ya'll cook up.

Pullets at 20 Paces

Date: Sunday, August 7, 2005, 3pm

Cost: Only $5 (just to cover chicken expenses), cash only, to be paid at the door.

Bring: a dish to share. Also, BYOB.

Location: A private home in DC. Address provided to attendees.

Cap: 14 people, not including me and Busboy, first-come first-served.

RSVP: Via PM to me, Malawry

This event has been organized through the eG Forums by members but is not sponsored by the Society or its eG Forums. The event is open to all participating eGullet Society members, contributors and their guests. By participating in this event, you confirm your understanding and acceptance of the eGullet Events Policy, to which all eGullet Society members have already agreed.

You can use this thread to ask questions about or discuss the event.

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This dinner had its genesis in this thread, in which, in my usual calm and reasoned fashion, I laid out my culinary and aesthetic objections to this over-used crutch.

Despite the fact that Rochelle is a highly skilled paid chef with an impeccable culinary school background, I am looking forward to testing my skills -- or, rather, my wife's skills, as Mrs. B is the chicken chef chez nous -- against this incredibly talented kitchen professional, so confident am I in my -- Stephanie's -- technique.

It's the least we can do to save the world from chicken that tastes as though it drowned at sea.

But wait, there's more!

Having calculated that ice cream made with organic eggs and farmer's market cream costs about 18 dollars an ounce, for dessert I am going to make two batches, one with market ingredients and one a "Safeway Special," for a second, dessert, taste test.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own syrups and jimmies.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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How will the chicken be prepared?

Spatchcock?

Yes, but grilled? broiled? fried?

Teams of skilled negotiators are still working out the final recipes, but my leaning is towards roasted chicken which Stephanie, using skills acquired over many years, will firmly truss.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Side dishes are requested. Beverages are required. :biggrin:

Mal and I will coordinate, but people should think simple summer stuff -- bread, cheese, salads, chilled soups, things you can slice and so on.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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We haven't negotiated the particulars, but I am pretty sure we are talking about roasted chicken here. Actually, I'd encourage you to post your thoughts on preparation methods in this thread, since this is more fun if the peanut gallery gets involved (ahem). The idea here is for all things to be identical--ingredients from the same place, methods the same, same amounts of everything except for salt. Just my chicken will be brined and Busboy's (or Stephanie's) won't. They could even be prepared by the same person, if Stephanie really wanted to do it all herself--but then I'm afraid ya'll might call fowl.

Also, just 'cause I went to culinary school don't mean I'm highly skilled. Ask any chef who's hired somebody fresh outta school :rolleyes:. I was a vegetarian for close to a decade until I decided to go to school, so I've only been roasting chicken for a couple of years now. The Busboys are likely to have an edge on technique because of this.

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To my mind, roasting the chicken is the first half of the battle. There is gravy to be made as well. The roasting of the chicken should be accompanied by aromatics that facilitate the making of the gravy. Also, that Chef Fowke trussing method is something that I have never been able to replicate.

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See, I disagree.  Pan gravy is the proper accompaniment to fried chicken, not roasted.  Aromatics in the pan create steam and prevent crispiness.  And roasted chicken is all about crispy skin and tender flesh underneath.

I don't have that experience.

edited to add: And I don't agree that pan gravy is a fried chicken thing. I always roast my chicken with aromatics, make gravy and serve it over the sliced chiken and the rice.

Edited by mnebergall (log)
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See, I disagree.  Pan gravy is the proper accompaniment to fried chicken, not roasted.  Aromatics in the pan create steam and prevent crispiness.  And roasted chicken is all about crispy skin and tender flesh underneath.

I don't have that experience.

edited to add: And I don't agree that pan gravy is a fried chicken thing. I always roast my chicken with aromatics, make gravy and serve it over the sliced chiken and the rice.

Moi aussi, Monsieur Nebergall. I ALWAYS make a pan gravy when I make roast chicken. (and although I prefer rice, my fam insists usually mashed taters, as if it's Thanksgiving.) Funny though too, I have also NEVER thought of fried chicken as having gravy as an accompaniment.

I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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I, on the other hand, do not normally make a pan gravy with roasted chicken. Sometimes I pour the pan drippings over the carved bird, but usually I don't even bother with that--I just strip off the skin and dive into the flesh like the savage omnivore I've become.

Uh. I hope that wasn't too much information. :rolleyes:

So what sorts of flavorings do you think are essential? I normally make an herb butter with whatever herbs are around and rub it over the inside and under the skin of the bird and then stuff the cavity with a couple lemon slices and some more fresh herbs. I add any remaining herb butter and some wine to the pan and roast the bird on a rack. I baste the bird with the combined wine/butter/drippings periodically. This is basically the Mark Bittman How to Cook Everything technique.

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I generally mix some butter together with some dried sage and rub it on the skin and under. I stuff with a lemon that has been pierced, a quarterd onion and some garlic cloves. I'd really like to be able to reproduce that Chef Fowke trussing method. I don't think I baste. But rice is easier to make than mashed potatoes and sells just as well in my household.

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We usually skim the the pan juices and flesh them out with wine, chicken stock and whatever flavoring we use (lemon juice, garlic, herbs) then do the montee au buerre thing. Roast Chicken gets served with garlic fried potatoes or cous-cous.

I don't know what trussing method we use but it seems to yield a superior product to either spatchcocked or unmolested birds.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Here's where the embarrassing confessions come in: I usually don't truss the bird, nor do I spatchcock it. I've done both, but I am normally too impatient to go through with it--I just prep it and then rest it on a V-shaped rack. How horrible. I'll have to clean up my act in time for this event. :unsure:

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