Flying the coup

Roast a chicken, not a democracy

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It started, as things often do now, with a tweet:

My wife, Priya, had, unbeknownst to me, removed a chicken from the freezer in the morning and left it out to thaw. Given that she literally wrote a book about how she’s interested in every element of gathering except the part about making the food, you can imagine whose burden the chicken was.

This pandemic has simmered so long that I have already done to chickens all that can be done to them. I have roasted. I have braised. Have trussed. Have spatchcocked (sorry, this newsletter may not be suitable for young children). I have stuffed things under the skin. Things you wouldn’t believe. I have become a connoisseur of chicken spine, which is better than you’d think. At some point, I just ran out of chicken ideas.

So I made my public plea.

What I learned very quickly is what I guess Sam Sifton (among the best newsletterers alive) has long known: it’s fine to tweet about politics, but you’re unnecessarily subjecting yourself to meanness and venom (and that’s from the people who like you!), whereas apparently the world of Food Twitter is just heaps of loving kindness.

You came through, Twitter. You showered me with chicken recipes of every manner, and I will never forget how tightly trussed I felt in your care. We are forever entwined.

As you know, I’m a big believer in philanthropy. So I decided to give back — to share some of the chicken recipes that were shared me in my hour of fast-defrosting need.

Because if there is one thing history tells us about perilous democratic transitions and coup attempts involving Michigan, it’s that it’s hard to fight tyranny on an empty belly.

So without ado:

  1. A visually awkward lemon-involved recipe.

This recipe, I should note, left me worried. Was it a trap?

I shouldn’t have speculated:

  1. Break the tradeoff between chicken and bread. Combine them. Win-win.

  1. @led_bet is a fan of Babish's take on roasting chicken.

  2. @FisherStudio has some questionable advice:

    “Roast it like a tiny turkey. Use baby root vegetables to stuff inside. Overcook it somewhat and then try to compensate with gravy. Serve it on a little platter and make a huge fuss out of carving it.”

    Full disclosure: @FisherStudio has been a vegetarian since 1988.

  3. @RudeeK2 reminded us to think about those suffering from natural disasters and hunger.

You can support the work of José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen here.

  1. Rebecca Holcombe brought another perspective.

  1. There was a lot of talk of spatchcocking.

    If you don’t know what that is or think it’s something your religion forbids you to do with anybody but your duly wedded spouse, the BBC is here to educate you.

  2. Karla Fisk brought out the skillet.

  1. Chris Pariso blew my mind with this upside-down, flip-it-all-around way.

  2. @cdthomas is not shy about olive oil (and thanks to whoever Anne is).

  3. @timtimtimtimtim and @DaniBurkhart answered my request for serious seasoning.

  4. When it’s nice out, @BullFrogJam recommends smoked half chicken with Alabama white sauce. Here’s the no-longer-secret recipe for the famous sauce:

  5. In the end, there had to be a winner-winner for this chicken dinner, and it was the Slow-Roast Gochujang Chicken, written by Molly Baz, and shared with me by @richlynnwatson. I made my own gochujang, substituting paprika for cayenne because we’re in the middle of a coup and it’s cold outside. And much to my amazement, my two- and five-year-olds were wild about this spicy chicken.

    Thank you to everyone who participated in making the internet fun and kind and delicious for at least one day this year.


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