|DINNER OF ROASTED CHICKEN WITH RICE AND SQUASH, YUM!!|
The first thing I do of course, is to light the fire in my old kitchen fireplace. I let it get nice and hot,with lots of coals. That usually takes about an hour. Then I take out my wonderful BIG tin roaster, that my friend, Bill McMillen , made for me. Another name for them is Reflector oven or Tin kitchen.
Billy made it a bit larger then the standard Tin Roaster, so I could roast a turkey or two chickens in it. I have an antique one that I used to use, but this one is much better. The reason for that is, it is nice and shiney. The heat can reflect off the shiney tin and roast the chicken or what ever you are roasting, must quicker and evenly. You can line an antique one with tin foil, I suppose .
Okay, so now that the fire is going, I next get my chicken ready. I slide the birds onto the spit and then skewer them onto it. I tie up the legs. Most of the time I like to keep it simple, since the fire will flavor the chicken anyway. I simply rub some olive oil on and sprinkle salt over it. Done. Skewer it and then roast. Today, however, I thought I would do a little more prep. I melted some butter in a small sauce pan and added some Madeira to the butter to create a butter sauce. I also added some sage and parsley . I then loosened the skin a little on the chicken and spooned some of this sauce in and under the skin. I poured the rest over the chicken . You could also save a bit to baste with if you wanted. I do this with my turkeys and it makes a delicious gravy when you use the drippings. A little sea salt sprinkled on the outside of the chickens and then you are ready to place them into the reflector oven.
I like facing the breast or top of the chicken toward the fire first , but I don't think it matters. You will notice that on the side of the tin kitchen, there are some little holes, which the spit will fit into . This is how you rotate the bird or birds. I do it about every 15 or 20 minutes. The door on the back of the oven will open up so you can see what is going on. I am always amazed at how quickly my chicken cooks. I usually roast a good size chicken and they take about an hour and 15 minutes. I just keep checking toward the end to make sure they are done and not pink inside the legs. I have taken them out of the tin kitchen and slid a knife inside the leg to see if the juices run clear. I guess you could also use a thermometer to check. If it still needs a little more time, I simply put them back in and roast a little longer.
About 15 years ago, I went to Old Sturbridge Village and saw a kit they had for roasting chicken on a string. We were living in a house built in 1799 , that had a smaller but great kitchen fireplace. Perfect for trying out this kit. I was new at this and hadn't bought a tin roaster yet, so I thought this would be a great way to get my feet wet , so to speak. At the time, my nephew, Justin , was about 12 years old and he used to get off the school bus in front of my house. He would usually stop and come in to say hi before walking the 1/2 mile to his house. I always had cookies or something that I was baking that I would give him to munch on while he walked home. This particular day I was determined to try out this chicken on a string thing and had hammered a nice big rosehead nail in the middle under the mantel . Then I strung up the chicken, according to the directions, and hung it from the nail. The fire was going nicely and I had twisted the string so that the bird was slowly turning in front of the fire. So Exciting!!!! Now you have to understand that my children were very used to my crazy obsession with the past and as they walked into the house, they hardly even glanced at what I was doing. I even remember my daughter asking casually if THAT is for dinner. I said excitedly ,"Yes it is , do you want to help?" No Mom, as she went up stairs. She also rolled her eyes.
I was happily watching my chicken when I realized someone was standing behind me. There was my nephew with the most horrified look on his face. "Aunt Peggy, what is that ?", he quietly asked.
Dinner! You want to stay? I think he left skid marks on my floor, as he ran out the door. I waited about 20 minutes and then the phone rang. It was my Sister calling to ask what her son was talking about. "What are you doing to a chicken?" she asked. I explained. Since then I have cooked many chickens and yum is what they say!
|GETTING THE FIRE READY|
|THE TIN ROASTER|
|READY TO ROAST|
|PLACED IN FRONT OF THE FIRE|
|THANK YOU HONEY!|