This week we had a crazy storm come through the area. There was no lightening, no thunder and very little wind. It moved over silently and before long it was raining buckets.
The next morning I got up early and prepared a chicken to go into the crock pot. First, I had to wade through the wet grass in our yard to harvest some fresh herbs from my (very tiny) herb garden outside. (Remind me to tell
the yard man my husband to cut the grass)
I went back inside and made up some herb butter using the room temperature butter I had left out before going to be the night before and smeared it all over the chicken and under the skin. This mixture was a little different from my normal recipe, because there was already garlic being used.
- Room Temperature Softened Butter
- 1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary
- 4 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
- 1 TSP Fresh Chives
- Zest of one Lemon
After I slathered the bird down, I cut whole cloves of garlic and lemon and placed them in the bottom of the crock pot as instructed by the recipe I was using. I sat the chicken on top of the lemon and garlic and placed a view slices of lemon, rosemary and thyme on top, again, just like the recipe said.
I placed the lid on. Inserted my fancy temperature probe and set the temperature and away I went to work.
My commute to work was about to get a longer. All the rain we had the night before had pushed the river levels up.
The bridge was passable, but it wasn’t long before I would have to go the long way around. I safely made it to work and started my day making trade show graphics.
Around 10:00 a.m. I received a text from our next door neighbor. He was just letting me know the power was out at home. I thanked him for letting me know and started thinking about what the power would do if it went off at home and wondered why it was out since the weather had fared off. Then my next text to him sounded a little something like this: “Oh crap! I have chicken cooking!”.
I had always wondered what would happen if the power went out after I left a crock pot cooking at home. Well, I was finding out! I asked him to please let me know when it came back on. I knew in my head how much time the chicken had been sitting there with no life support. I had only a short period of time to make my decision: Option A) Let it spoil, Option B) Wait for the power came back on, leave work and drive home to reset the crock pot, or Option C) Go home get the crock pot and bring it back to work with me to finish cooking the chicken.
A half hour later, my neighbor sent me another text that the power was back on. I decided to go with Option B. I was in a place where I could leave work for a little bit to run home.
I took my lunch break around 10:40 a.m. to go home and rescue the chicken. The bridge that I crossed on my way to work, was now closed and I had to go around the long way. It’s not much difference, but when you drive your husband’s Dodge Hemi, it makes a huge difference in gas. I woke up His Royal Highness when I busted into the house. I quickly turned the crock pot back on. Fortunately the chicken was at 100˚ and only needed to rise up 65 more degrees, before it was done. I turned around and went back to work. All this took approximately 45 minutes of my work day. When it was lunch time, I ate lunch while I worked.
When I returned (AGAIN) from work, the house smelled of garlic and rosemary. The chicken was sitting in a warm broth and was done to perfection. I was so excited about eating it. It looked and smell great!
I peeled some potatoes and warmed up my leftover butterbeans and opened a can of snaps for David (he doesn’t like butterbeans). I got ready to mash the potatoes and took the chicken out of the crock pot to carve. I strained the juices (just like the recipe said to do) and attempted to make a gravy. That’s when I noticed this broth didn’t taste very good. It was bitter and way to lemony to make into a gravy. I shrugged it off knowing my experiences with homemade gravy have never been that great in the past. I drained the potatoes to mash and we were ready to eat.
Yuck! This was the most bitter chicken we had ever eaten. The meat was fall off the bone tender, but the outer layer was so bitter that it wasn’t good. This chicken we looked forward to eating was no good. I was not a happy camper! Not only did I throw away time preparing this meal, but I also threw a kink into my whole day to rescue this nasty chicken!! And I had a whole kitchen full of dirty dishes because I made side dishes to accompany it. So frustrating!!
So, there is a moral to this story. No matter what a recipe calls for, use your best judgement. I did not. I did exactly what the recipe called for, except I made the herb butter modification (which is extremely good). That very morning, I had made a posting for Kitchen Tip Tuesday. It was called “Getting Zesty”. This post talked about zest and a pith of citrus fruits. I followed the recipe to add the lemons and lemon slices. Because I did not practice what I had preached, my chicken was horribly bitter, because it was swimming around in tons of pith, rind and lemon juice all day. The chemistry of the broth was thrown off and my chicken tasted like crap! FAIL.
At this time, I would like to thank my gracious neighbor for alerting me about the power failure. I am glad I went back home to try and salvage this recipe. Now I won’t waste my time with it again and I can go back to trying recipes that are worth a damn.