Friday, August 13, 2010

Powerthawing Chickens 101

Who decides at the last minute to make what is essentially a roast chicken for a party???

Especially when you aren't in possession of a thawed chicken.

And double especially when you know the chicken you need will not be reacily available because it is not one of those 2-3 pounders they have at the grocery store that you seek.

Apparently that would be me.

I needed one for Jeffery's Mom's and The Artiste's combined birthday party dinner.

And when you are looking for something pushing 5 pounds on a Monday morning and the party in question is Monday night, well then you are almost certain to be up a certain creek.

In my defence I did start trying to procure said chicken on Sunday.

I called my friendly neighbourhood butcher at 3PM. No answer.

I visited the supermarket in town. But they were sold out of chickens period. No fresh ones, not even of the 2-3 pound variety. Not sure how that happened on a sunny Sunday afternoon. People don't barbeque on days like that. Not even and frozen birds to be seen. And strangely the meat counter was like a ghost town. I went past it at least 1o times.

At that point I went home and pondered what to do.

My friendly neighborhood butcher sweetly told me that they wouldn't have any chickens until Tuesday and that I likely would only find frozen at that size at the supermarket. I discovered they are only open until 2PM on Sundays and that's why they let the phone ring off the hook unanswered the day before.

Next I looked up butcher shops near me on the web. The place on the 6th concession poppes up. I called the number but it was not in service anymore and then remembered that they had moved to a different spot but couldn't remember where that was.

So then I typed in chickens and my town.

Low and behold there was Aubin's Farm listed. I have seen the sign driving by but never realised that you could buy things there. I just thought it was a heritage type sign. So I gave them a call and Mrs Aubin kindly discussed my problem with me.

It was now approximately 10AM.

She did not have any chickens fresher than July 29th and those were frozen. This was both good news and bad news at the same time given that it was August 9th.

Mrs Aubin suggested that a better option might be roast beef because you can cook it from frozen but I was stubborn in my desire to beer butt a chicken for dinner mostly because you can completely ignore it once you put it on the barbeque and it is nearly impossible to wreck even if you forget about it. Of course that would never happen to me because I never get distracted while cooking.

We talked thawing options and came up with the idea that I could try the running water trick and hope that in the 6 hours that remained before the bird had to meet the heat that it would thaw out. Mrs Aubin told me that she would get it out and start it to thawing in her very own kitchen sink.

I hightailed it over there and was invited into the Aubin's kitchen where we discussed thawing options. Mr Aubin came in carrying a lovely bucket of fresh brown eggs. I was tempted by those eggs. I am a sucker for brown eggs and the farm I currently buy from has only white eggs. It was hard but I had to focus. Keep my eyes on the prize so to speak. I managed not to negotiate on the eggs and plucked my lovely free range organic chicken from her sink, popped it in my plastic bag and made a run for it home where I grabbed my biggest cooking pot and headed for my laundry sink.

The Aubin's and I had reasoned this all out. If I kept the bird submerged in cool running water for the roughly 5 hours I had left then I might have a chance at this. The ONLY place to do this would be someplace where my fine feline friends could not lick or steal my bird. That meant that my kitchen sink was out and I had already learned that frozen meat kept in a closed oven is the same thing as keeping it in the freezer. I briefly considered a 5 gallon cooler and the garden hose outside but was worried about what the neighbours hounds might do to my twenty one dollar and fifty cent chicken.

So the laundry sink it was. Into the pot of cold water went the chicken, on went the tap. Drip, drip, drip went the cold water. At 11:30AM I made sure all the cats were out of the laundry room and shut the door behind me. Then I braced it with a 5 pound hand weight because it's amazing what feats of strength inquiring paws can accomplish when they set their minds to it.

A watched frozen chicken just doesn't thaw quickly enough. The suspense killed me all afternoon. I had to get away. I finally had to take a break and went to visit a neighbour to get some corn and potatoes I needed for supper and since ours aren't ready in the garden yet I decided to buy some of his.

I was vaguely worried about a potential basement flood if the drain on the sink plugged but I needed the veggies and a cookable chicken and I wasn't going to be gone that long so I was willing to take the risk.

Make or break time arrived at 4:00PM.

Supper was supposed to be just after 6PM and by my calculations a 5 pound chicken at 20 minutes per pound would take 100min or a bit more to cook depending on the ultimate temp of my barbeque.

I opened the laundry room door.

It was the moment of truth.

The floor was dry.

The Artiste carve a perfectly beer-butted chicken at precisely 6:15PM.

Who says it takes 9 hours or overnight to thaw a 5 pound chicken???

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