Murder Most Fowl
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The following episode took place a couple of weeks back. I have since recovered from the trauma.
So Hubs was away for the weekend. Much as I miss him when he's gone, I take the opportunity to cook my favourite dishes usually repulsive in smell or taste to the average European. I had set aside the day for Hae Mee, (Prawn Noodle Soup) but got side-lined by Sonny-Boy's request for Hainanese Chicken Rice instead. Okay, we can do that.
I went to the supermarket and gathered all the ingredients, got home and started cooking.
First up, prepping the chicken. For Chicken Rice, one needs the bird whole. I was very pleased with my particular buy. It was plump and fresh. As I undid the shrink wrap from the plastic tray, I got such a rude shock and began screaming and screaming. Between you and me, I would have passed Alfred Hitchcock's screen test with that one shriek. It was loud, it was shrill, it was filled with horror.
The bird was whole alright, complete with head and claws previously tucked neatly out of sight, which now sprang out as the shrink wrap came loose.
I freaked and dropped the chicken. Thankfully I was standing over the sink so it landed in there. After calming my frazzled nerves with a hot cup of green tea, I went back to the sink to inspect my fowl booty. The head and feet would have to go.
Who's the chicken here - it or me?
With both thumbs and index fingers, I gingerly transferred the chicken to the cutting sheet. I looked around for my big Chinese cleaver only to remember it was back home in the Netherlands. Plan B would have to be the chef's knife from Ikea.
I went for the legs first. I tried to wop one foot off with a clean chop but it refused to budge. After a couple of tries, I had to break the foot off and cut the skin. The cracking sound of bone was sickening, more so when I had to do it three to four times to prise it loose. Ugh!
I had better luck with the other foot. Somehow, I must have found the weak spot or joint for the foot came off with one neat blow. The executioner back in King Henry VIII's day couldn't have done better.
On the left is the nice clean cut, albeit a stray tendon peeking out. On the right, however, is a fine example of what not to do.
By now, my stomach had turned to jelly and I still had the pièce de résistance to handle. I took a deep breath and braced myself. Almost there now, Dutchess, you can do it, just do what you did with the second foot. But no, some higher power was toying with me. The knife just wouldn't penetrate the neck. I ended up using a sawing motion but this caused even more drama. By some horrid, horrid law of physics, each sawing motion made the chicken's neck jerk up whilst the loose skin on the head pulled back to reveal its eyeballs. It looked like it was struggling for dear life and I felt I was murdering the bird all over again.
I was close to tears. Out of desperation, I decided to give another swing at the damn neck. CHOP! Body and neck was one no more.
Thank you, kitchen gods!
Another example of what not to do - notice a bit of bone jutting out where the neck is supposed to be.
The rest of the preparation and cooking process went on without a hitch and Sonny-boy had his Hainanese Chicken Rice that evening. I skipped dinner. Somehow, I wasn't very hungry.
Labels: home life, one dish meals, she cooks
The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 4:42 am