The chicken lay smug in its plastic tray; proud and resplendent in its goose-pimpled skin, wearing all of its limbs. My grandmother told me this day would come and I would be the lesser. You see, I’d never learnt how to cut up a chicken. I bought mines skinned and cut from the butcher; talilored for curries or roasts. And now, here it laid, my culinary shortcomings exposed, in whole poultry.
I was at Robertsons’ Spicemaster challenge, a mystery-box cook-off with other food bloggers. In the lead-up to the event, I prepared by watching hours of Food Network, taking notes from Chopped champions. I never thought to google; How To Disjoint A Chicken.
But I was not going to allow a bird to better me. And when in doubt, I make curry, from the chicken breasts. Starting with a fairly traditional curry base; shallots, whole cloves, black pepper, ground cumin, livened with ginger and red and green chillies, I seasoned my now-cubed, yielding chicken with Robertsons Peri Peri and Cayenne Pepper, salt and black pepper. While that cooked, I prepared a white sauce and a pot of cayenne-spiced lemon-scented polenta. The white sauce added a creamy note to the curry, reminiscent of butter chicken. Served piled up on a mound of soft polenta, I think I bested that bird.