Over dinner, I mentioned to my wife what Harris, the poll people, found in a survey earlier this year. Nearly 65 % of women admitted, they found it sexy when a partner cooked for them. Harris didn’t say, but I suspect, the other 35% would have admitted it too, only they didn’t want to encourage their already amorous partners in any way. My wife’s excuse is she does not consider what I do cooking.
Now, I don’t imagine the Iron Chefs are looking over their shoulders, but I make a mean chicken gravy. More on that later, with the recipe. The point here is, I see no reason why all the encouragement to get me to help more in the kitchen can’t be, well, more encouraging. If you follow my drift.
It’s not as if we men aren’t helping more. Our Grandfathers probably never even set foot in the kitchen, unless it was late at night, or to look for Grandma. Since Adam, it’s been women who mostly ruled the kitchen, except in Italy, where they figured out that sexy thing early. Even today, couples come over, it’s the hens who drift off to protect the stove against invasion.
Now, given how men tend to be motivated by a pretty small set of things, being game day, food, sex, friends, fishing and family, not necessarily in that order, there should be a pretty simple process to get more help in the kitchen. I’m just saying. And thanks to some folks over at Harris sitting around wondering what kind of questions we really need answers to, we now know at least part of that equation is stimulated by men cooking in the first place.
I’ll admit, even I never considered cooking foreplay. But, out of the mouths of babes….
That chicken gravy only takes a few steps, and it’s worth every one.
1. Gather up two cups of low salt chicken stock, and set it aside. Take one medium lemon, some dry, powder chicken stock, dry onion soup mix or stock, garlic powder, and tarragon spice. You can also put in other spices you like with chicken, that’s up to you. Mix 4 tablespoons dry chicken stock, 2 tablespoons of the dry onion, a half teaspoon garlic, and a couple shakes of spice in a bowl and mix together.
2. Take a whole raw chicken, which you’ve rinsed under cold water. If you start at the butt end you’ll notice you can slip your fingers under the skin, and between the skin and the meat of the breast of the chicken. Go ahead and gently, carefully, do that all the way to the front of the bird, separating the skin from the bird as you go, and over to the legs too. Now, carefully means, don’t tear the skin if you can help it, because you want the skin back over the whole chicken. If your mitts are too big to do this, use a wooden spoon.
3. Push a thin layer of the stock powder mix under the skin of the bird, spread everywhere you can reach, making sure to spread it evenly as best you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it will clump up, but spread it around.
4. Cut the lemon in half and put it inside the bird.
5. Roast the bird. At an oven temp of 375 F, that will be about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes (for a 2 1/2 to 3 pound bird), or 1 hour 45 to 2 hours 15 minutes (for a 3 to 4 pounder). To tell when it’s done, watch the skin brown, look for the legs to start to pull away from the body. Use a thermometer placed into the middle of a thigh, away from bone. It should be at least 165 F.
6. When the bird is done, take it out of the oven and let it rest, while you make a roux. If you don’t know how, you have one hand tied behind your back in the gravy department. It thickens and flavors. Here’s how to do it. (And, in Louisiana, it’s pronounced “roo”.)
Take two tablespoons butter or margarine and two tablespoons flour, put the butter in a nice heavy pan – cast iron’s best. Avoid the thin pans cause they’ll burn way too fast.
Put this on a low to medium low heat and as the butter melts, stir in the flour to make like a paste. Now, if you set back and jabber, that roux will burn, so don’t. Keep your eyes on it. What you’re doing is toasting the flour. It will start to foam, and cook. Keep it together in the middle of the pan, and keep mixing it round so it cooks evenly. You’ll see it will start to change color – that’s what you want. When it gets a rich medium yellow brown to tan, you’re done, get it off the heat. Actually, you can take it darker, to caramel or true brown if you want, but only if you have the hang of it: it turns to black really fast, so watch out.
7. Pour everything from the chicken roasting pan into a medium pot. Add the two cups of stock from the can. Bring it to a rolling boil. When it’s boiling, add about a half cup of that liquid to the roux in the pan, and stir it up, to melt the roux, and thin it down. No lumps. Start to add this back to the boiling stock pot by small spoonfuls, stirring to mix well with each addition. You’ll see it start to thicken. You can stop adding roux whenever it gets to a thickness you like, but take it a bit further, because we’re going to add some liquid.
8. Turn the heat under the gravy all the way down to simmer. Add about one third cup of nice dry white wine, or red if that’s all you have. Give it a good stir, a couple minutes on simmer, and you’re done.
You’ll notice the chicken has taken in the flavors you used. It’s a good trick, even without the gravy.
Now, if you want to cut calories and fat you’ll want to skim off a fair amount of chicken fat from the roasting pan before you use the drippings. Since the chicken fat is what gives it flavor, I suggest you put it all into the gravy, and then just eat less gravy. If you can. And you can use more water than directed if you find it too salty, which is why we used low salt chicken stock to begin with.
When you put that on the plate for your wife might be the right moment to mention Harris. And how with a little encouragement, you might just be spending more time helping in the kitchen.
My wife has let me know she thinks my doing dishes is sexy, but I have yet to see any sign this is true. I’ll keep you posted.