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Cook s Treat Chicken


1 whole frying chicken with giblets
4 pieces of oatmeal bread
4 or 5 scallions
1/2 lb or so button mushrooms
1 bunch parsley
2 eggs, beaten
1 salt
1/2 lb or so of soft butter

The second dish, though it s equally cheap and good, takes a bit
longer to fix. It s a simple roast chicken with a stuffing of my own
devising. The neat thing about it is that you put a nicely browned
roast chicken on the table in front of admiring guests none of whom
realize you ve already had your meal++one better than they re about
to partake of++though that one ain t bad either. First off, make the
stuffing. Toast the oatmeal bread about medium brown. When it pops
up, let it sit in the toaster for a few minutes to dry out. Chop the
scallions into pieces about 1/4-to 1/2-inch long. Slice the button
mushrooms or cut them into quarters if they re small. Chop the
parsley roughly. Cut the dried toast into pices about 1/2 inch
square. Put all these goodies into a large mixing bowl, add the eggs
and mix well. Salt the stuffing to taste. Use pepper too if you like
it. I sometimes also add Bell s Poultry Seasoning. At this point I
reserve some of the stuffing++maybe a quarter or a third++and add the
chopped giblets to it as I find that a lot of folks don t like them
in the stuffing, hard as that may be to grasp. But it works out good
for me, as you ll see. After the chicken is washed and dried, stuff
the critter with the stuffing from the non-gibletted bowl. Back when
I developed this dish++when I didn t know how to cook++I took the
word at it s face value and *stuffed* the stuffing into the body
cavity. Since then I ve heard that it s considered good form to stuff
it loosely to allow for expansion. Don t listen to these lies. Stuff
that sucker full! Heat the oven to between 350F and 400F. Rub the
chicken with butter and salt it. Put the stuffed chicken, breast
side up, on a roasting rack in a pan of some sort with sides about an
inch or so high++a big pyrex cake pan works well. I use one of those
racks with the adjustable sides to hold the bird in place though
anything will work except a vertical roaster. Now here s where the
sly part comes in. Have a fork or a pair of chopsticks handy. I
recommend chopsticks if you can use them. You ll see why in a minute.
Take the gibletted dressing and pack it all over the surface of the
chicken, patting it into place. Put the neck where you can reach it
to baste it. Dot the stuffing generously with pats of butter. (This
ain t health food...) Put the bird into the oven and close the door.
Don t look for about fifteen minutes or so. Chat. Entertain your
guests. Pour them some more wine. After fifteen minutes you, as the
cook, will be ready to begin one of the best meals of your life while
your guests sit unsuspecting, waiting for the bird to be done. When
the time has elapsed, start basting with a bulb baster. Do this
regularly and religiously every five to ten minutes or so. Salt
occasionally. The stuffing and giblets on top of the chicken will
start to brown as you baste it with the flavor laden combo of butter
and chicken juices. The toast bits will get crispy. The scallions
will add their luscious juices to the basting liquid. The mushrooms
will steam and beckon. Soon you ll be picking off the browner bits
and savoring them. Each time you open the oven, a new selection of
bits will be ready for your delectation! Try to look harried and
pained so your guests won t know how much fun you re having. Give
them some more wine to keep them quite. Have a little yourself. Maybe
serve a salad or something... If any of them get suspicious, tell
them you re "adjusting the seasonings". That should throw them off
the track enough that none of them will be tempted to "help" you with
that arduous task. Heh, heh, heh... As you gradually clear the
stuffing off the surface of the chicken the skin will begin to brown
too. Keep basting! The chopsticks come in real handy now for
retrieving the bits of mushrooms, giblets and whatever that fall down
under the rack. They can get in where it s hard to get a fork. The
dish is done when all the stuffing coating the outside of the bird is
in your stomach and the skin has turned a nice, crispy, savory golden
brown. Take the chicken out, put it on the serving platter and
de-stuff it. Serve with rolls, salads, veggies, mashed taters and
gravy (made of course, with instant mashed potatoes)++whatever your
guests like or whatever strikes your fancy. You won t care. You ll
already be full! I generally polish off a leg and a wing or so just
for appearance s sake though. Oh yeah++and I always make the
"sacrifice" and take the perfectly roasted, crispy skinned neck so my
guest won t have to suffer through it...

Two cautions. One about the stuffing. I love it, but it won t taste
like traditional stuffings. It will be redolent of mushrooms,
parsley and scallions, very moist and++to my taste++quite nice. I
really like the taste of oatmeal bread. Using other bread, you d
probably have to spiff up the seasonings a bit. The other caution
is++do not use garlic! Heresy, I know, to some folks, but I tried it
and it disrupted the nice balance of flavors. For folks who like
crispy skin, all the basting produces an excellent skin++full of
flavor and crispy. Good stuff++a meal in itself.


Servings: 1



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