Monday, May 7, 2012

Trust the truss

The other day I roasted a chicken. Incidentally, it is the same chicken that my husband is currently gnawing on. We ate pretty much all of it but there's still a carcass, so there you go.

Anyway, to get back on topic, I tried to truss the chicken. The chicken I tried to truss. But though I tried to truss the chicken, the chicken made a fuss and did not truss.


I watched a video made by Michael Ruhlman, starring Chef Brian Polcyn from Detroit, in which he very succinctly and matter-of-factly explained and demonstrating superb chicken trussing technique. Despite this excellent instruction, I failed. Here are the reasons:

1) I did not have enough twine. Strictly speaking, I did not have any twine. What I DID have was a "Roast Lifter" purchased from the post-Thanksgiving clearance bin and made on nothing but some twine fastened with plastic. Supposedly, you lay this contraption in your roasting pan, place your turkey upon it, and hey presto, four hours later you can remove the turkey from the pan with ease. I have my doubts about this "E-Z No-Mess" device, but will never get to test it out because I unceremoniously snipped the plastic off and was left with nothing but a few six-inch pieces of twine that were ridiculously eager to unravel.

2) My chicken was really fat in the breast and really puny in the leg. The correct method of trussing is to tie the legs, crossed over the tail (and cavity) of the chicken, in order to draw the entire bird into a more consistent shape that allows for even cooking. However, my lack of twine meant that all I could do was tie the legs together, shove them downward (and keep doing so, as they resisted my efforts by popping up now and again) and hope for the best. I did tuck the wings underneath the breast, but they migrated outwards during cooking.

Now, all that said, I used Thomas Keller's excellent recipe for roast chicken (salt and pepper a chicken; roast) and it turned out beautifully, defunct truss and all. We enjoyed the bounty for several days and the carcass is now to become stock. But I still have the truss on my mind and, provided I find a ball of butcher's twine for a decent price, next time, OH NEXT TIME, I will conquer. Truss me.

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