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  1. Idle Food - Cooking!

    We have threads dedicated to many things, but somehow lacked one about cooking and eating. That issue is now resolved. The title says cooking, but feel free to talk about anything kitchen related or food related. If there's something fun to discuss about a restaurant visit, go wild. The thing that inspired me to post a cooking thread is spatchcock roasted chicken. It is almost impossibly easy, and the cooked results are phenomenal. Spatchcocking (or butterflying), is removing the backbone from a bird, and flattening it. You get a large amount of surface area for crispy skin, even cooking, and fast cooking time. I first got the urge to try this when a friend was faced with a dilemma - trying to fit a tiny turkey into their on-counter convection oven for Thanksgiving dinner. At 8.5 pounds it was the smallest turkey I've ever heard of, but the height was too much and it wouldn't fit. She was considering just slicing off an inch or two of the top of the turkey breast just to get the thing in there. I did some searching, found the link below, and convinced her to try spatchcocking it. With the bird flattened out, it fit on the roasting pan and had plenty of clearance, and she reported tremendous success. Since I don't buy a lot of turkeys, I transferred the same basic cooking instructions to chicken. The quick and dirty so I'm not just putting a link to someone else explaining - (1) 4-5 pound whole chicken, neck and organs removed. (fryer or roaster, chicken's chicken) - ~2 Tbsp canola, vegetable, or olive oil - 1 Tbsp salt - 1 tsp black pepper Preheat the oven to 450. Put your chicken on a cutting board with room to work. Imagine a Rockwell painting. Now stop imagining and flip it over. There's the backbone. Grab a set of kitchen shears, and cut down the length of the bird as close to the backbone as possible. You should get some resistance but if the chicken is thawed this shouldn't be too tough. If you're really having a hard time, you may be cutting into the backbone. Move a bit further out and keep going. When one side is free, swap to the other side. Reserve the backbone for stock if you'd like. It is a great addition. Flip the bird over so all the skin is facing up. Find the middle of the breastbone, and press down. You want to flatten out the chicken breasts as much as possible. There may be a small pop or crack, there might not. Transfer your chicken to a rack, on a cooking pan lined with aluminum foil. The recipe above says to line the pan with chopped veggies. I don't have any racks high enough to do this. Although I'm missing out on roasted vegetables the chicken hasn't suffered. Take your tablespoon of oil, and cover all the visible surfaces of the chicken. Coat the chicken liberally (LIBERALLY) with salt (I use kosher for cooking), and then follow with black pepper. The turkey recipe has a nice picture of the wings folded neatly under the breast. Chicken wings are just too small to do this, so do the best you can. If you have a fancy temperature-taking device, set it for 165 and insert it as deep into one of the thighs as you can. If you have a non-fancy thermometer, set your timer for 45 minutes. Insert the chicken into the middle of the oven, and anticipate. At 45 minutes, check the chicken. If the thickest part of the thigh registers 165, you're done. This cooking method has roasted a chicken in 45-55 minutes for me, but time may vary. If you're not at 165, set the timer for 3 or 5 more minutes and check it again. If you're not even CLOSE to 165, go up to step 1 and turn the oven on. When the chicken hits temperature, remove from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, preferably one with a reservoir (most of the juices will have redistributed, that's why you wait, but this is still an incredibly juicy bird). The absolute best thing about cooking a chicken this way is how easy it is to carve it. The thigh and leg are attached by basically skin, and a quick knife through gets you a perfect quarter. If you pull the wing back, you should be able to find the joint and easily pop it out. To cut the breast, I like to cut right down the breastbone and then off the ribs to take it all the way off, and then carve it as a standing piece. Here's a picture of the last one I cooked. Not actually my best effort and I took the picture for reasons unrelated to the chicken, but still came out well. This first post was way too long, sorry! Food, eating, yeah!