I spent way too much of yesterday doing stuff around the house. Laundry had built up, and a couple of sets of sheets and the winter coats needed washing, so. Dinner was to be roast chicken, which I have made often enough that I expected simplicity. No, Life said, simple it shall not be.
You see, I had taken the chicken out of the deep freeze on Thursday with the intention of making it Sunday. Then I decided that I would declare Sunday a Writing Only day, which meant I had to make the chicken yesterday. Now the thing was like a ball of marble when I took it out of the deep freeze, and after two days defrosting in the fridge there was still solid ice in the cavity. But I put it under a cold water stream and cleaned it out as it went along. I could move the wings and legs after about an hour and a half, so I stuffed the cavity with lemons, thyme, and garlic, plopped it on a bed of veggies, and stuck it in the oven. After about 2 hours, the temp probe in the thickest part of the thigh read 174F, the drumsticks came off with a twist of the wrist, and all was well. Except…
…except that the way deep inner part of the bird must still have been frozen when I put it in the oven because unclear (read: bloody) juice poured out when I cut into the spot between thigh and body. So I hacked the thing up and stuck it back in the roast pan, roast pan back in the oven. It only added a few extra minutes to the cooking time, but it derailed the carving and meant the platter etc needed to be washed and roasting chicken is so damned basic so why oh why can’t I get it RIGHT?
Next time, I will need to remember to take it out of the freezer earlier to give it time to defrost. Like maybe a week.
Then, since I hate to waste a good carcass, I decided that Saturday evening would be a great time to make stock. I had already cut up the veggies and had them sitting in the 8-qt stock pot atop the stove. So I added the chicken carcass, along with some frozen remains of a previous bird. 12 cups water. Let it simmer for 4 hours, then strained out the solids and cooked down the liquid–yes, I followed a recipe, somewhat. This one–until it had cooked down to about 5 cups of rich brown stuff that jellied in the fridge overnight. I think I added too many veggies and not quite enough chicken, and maybe I should have taken the time to roast the veggies first, but it still looks good and has a nice flavor. And the house still smells like soup, which can’t be all bad on a cold winter day.
In other news, the indoor herb-growing experiment is paying dividends. The basil is leafing and while growth is slow, there is growth nonetheless. I doubt I will end up with enough to make a batch of pesto, but there’s enough to add a small bunch of leaves to a salad or the odd sandwich. The tarragon is hardier than I thought. It did manage to survive last winter in the deck planter, and the root system that I dug out and potted is budding and the meager stems that were in a second small pot are putting forth leaves. The thyme is lagging, but I had been harvesting quite a bit and it never was the most vigorous plant. But it is entering its third year and I”m hoping if I leave it alone for a while that it will come around. It’s possible that it needs repotting in something a little bigger.
But the star has to be the flat-leaf parsley. I almost dumped it at the end of summer because it was down to a mass of cut stems with no new growth to be seen. But I brought it in on a whim and it’s thanked me by taking off. Masses of new growth. Leggy, yes, a bit, as it strains toward the window. But the low 60s indoor temp seems to agree with it.
Up too late and slept too long, so, need to work. And now I need to figure out what to do about Gaby. She whined for attention and so I gave her one of the squeaky tails and now she wants to play fetch. I may have to put her outside in the cold, which just means the opportunity to kill something, a situation to which she is not averse.