My chickens are hairy.

A couple times since we moved here I’ve bought chicken or chicken pieces at the store and been grossed out when I got home because there were still feathery bits sticking out of the bird. At first I thought this was because the chicken pluckers (?) were lazy, but last night Julia Child cleared this up for me:

Usually American chickens have been plucked absolutely clean. If not, pluck and squeeze out feather follicles, then turn the chicken rapidly over a gas or alcohol flame to burn off any hairs or feather bits. –Mastering the Art of  French Cooking, p. 236

Aha. So over here it’s more common to buy a bird a little, um, closer to his natural state. Yesterday I bought a whole chicken (hele kip, if you’re learning Dutch) to roast per Julia’s Poulet au Porto (chicken steeped in port wine). Armed with this new knowledge I plucked out little (and some truly large!) feathers and then tried to singe the remaining bits like she said (a lot less gracefully than intended, I’d imagine). It’s funny how a little knowledge can make things like this less intimidating.

There he is: my buttery hairless wonder.

Also props to Tim, who totally carved the chicken into serving pieces (a first for us)! He even tried to do it “rapidly” as Julia suggests…

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4 Comments

Filed under Cooking

4 responses to “My chickens are hairy.

  1. Katrina

    Looks fabulous!! Bon appetit!

  2. Kent Morsch

    This made me smile and remember the movie Julie and Julia. It’s a cute, fluffy tale based on a true story, and since you’re a blogger, you might relate to it even better than we did. check it out if you haven’t seen it already.

  3. This makes me remember when I was a little girl and Dad raised chickens…we would prep the chickens for eating/roasting, etc….and Mom would do the pin feathers, and singe the unwanted stuff off the chicken over the gas range….over the flame. (I can still remember the SMELL of it!)

    Your presentation looks marvelous, and you know more than you want to know about chickens!

    Don’t you love Julia Child’s cookbook? She’s so accurate, and well-researched! Good for you, Tim….with the carving.

    • unquiettime

      I recently read “My Life in France” by Julia Child and it gave me a real appreciation for just how researched those cookbooks are- I recommend it!

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