Improvisational Adventures in the Kitchen: Roasting Chicken and Stuffing With Rachael Ray


I had a small chicken from Hoosic [sic] River Poultry in the farmers’ market. I wanted to roast it. Memory of the skipped Thanksgiving made me crave the only thing I like about Thanksgiving — the stuffing.

Accordingly, I decided to make my own, although going up against Pepperidge Farm is a formidable obstacle. I’m not talking fancy cookbook stuffing here, laden with cranberries and oysters. What I wanted was the kind of stuffing that came in a box reeking of sage.

I had a couple of stale half-loaves of bread in the fridge (who doesn’t?), so I went at them with a cleaver, with crumbs, crusts, and bigger hunks of bread interior flying in every direction, sometimes hitting the wall of my kitchen and sometimes hitting the floor.

But since the chicken was small, and the neck mainly missing, I couldn’t make a chicken broth of what what would be left over after tossing the bird in the roasting pan; neither did I want to deprive my bird of wings or legs in order to make a broth for the stuffing. Accordingly, I reached for Rachael Ray — by which I mean the Rachael Ray Chicken Broth which I’d scored weeks earlier during an addled ramble through a regular supermarket, something I rarely do.

The small chicken from Hoosic [sic] River Poultry seems to be doing the backstroke.

I sauteed onions and celery in butter, and, not having time to bicycle to my community garden to gather winter-blooming sage, I settled for some dry almost-powder in a spice bottle called “Gourmet Collection Rubbed Dalmatian Sage.” (So that’s what you get when your rub a Dalmatian! I thought to myself.) I deglazed the onions and celery with about a cup of Rachel, then threw in the stale bread gobbets and stirred them around.

Using a soup spoon, I spooned the stuffing into the cavity of the bird, then mounted the pollo on top of a mound of stuffing, hoping the stuffing on the bottom would remain moist, while the exposed became crusty. Tune in tomorrow morning to see the result of my guerrilla cooking experiment, and to see if the Rachel worked out OK. Or was I better just skipping the broth part of the stuffing entirely?

Onions sizzle with celery in butter, sprinkled with some dodgy sage powder.

Tomorrow: How Did Rachel Do?

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