little house cookbook, meat

Stuffed Roasted Hen

For my birthday yesterday, I tricked Josh into eating a Laura Ingalls Wilder roasted chicken.

It was a good day.

While he slaved away on grade reports, I got to work in his kitchen. First I made the stuffing: a savory blend of bread, butter, sage, and salt and pepper. As Walker recommended, I melted a quarter cup of butter in the roasting pan as the oven preheated. Meanwhile, I tried to slice up the bread I’d gotten for free on a tour of our favorite bakery.

Then I remembered that Josh’s roommate had moved out earlier that day. And realized that she had taken all of the sharp kitchen knives with her.

We did find a bright green, plastic serrated knife in the drawer, so Josh sawed away at the bread in a manly fashion while I assembled other ingredients. Then, instead of grating the bread into teeny tiny little crumbs like Walker instructs (this seemed like it would lead only to madness and sliced-up hands), I tore it into little pieces and tossed it with the melted butter, a tablespoon of chopped fresh sage, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

It sure didn’t look like the stuffing of my childhood, but hey, this was my own personal prairie, this kitchen lacking in utensils. I made do.

Next, the chicken. We quickly discovered that the bright green knife would not puncture the plastic encasing the chicken. Josh, ever resourceful, sliced it open with a potato peeler. He then vowed to buy kitchen knives as soon as he had free time.

Once we’d gotten the chicken free, though, the preparation was pretty straightforward. Rinse and dry the chicken, rub its insides with salt, fill the cavities with stuffing, and rub the skin with a tablespoon of butter and salt. I was supposed to sprinkle flour on top, too, but Josh’s roommate had, sadly, taken that as well. So I slid the roasting pan into a 350 degree oven and let it cook for 2 hours, pausing to turn the chicken over halfway through. Then I shared the news with Josh that we would be eating a Laura Ingalls Wilder chicken.

“Oh, boy,” he said.

And yet: despite the lack of knives; despite eating at 9:00 at night because I had once again forgotten to backwards-time the project; despite neglecting to make the gravy because the giblets weren’t included and there wasn’t any flour; the chicken was delicious. Succulent, juicy, full of flavor. It might be better than my stand-by roasted chicken recipe. Even Josh approved.

Like I said, it was a good day.

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