Season Chicken Cavity - Why?
- jfood Feb 28, 2008 03:45 PM
Almost every recipe jfood sees on whole roasted chicken suggests seasoning the insode of the bird. If you are notplanning on picking up the pieces while eating why do the recipes tell you to do this?
C'mon jfood. Nosh thinks you are pulling the proverbial drumstick with this query.
Anyway, one seasons both the outside and the inside of the whole chicken for much the same reasons as one seasons both top and bottom of a steak, for as much and as even an exposure as possible. Second, there is actually more contact with the meat on the thigh and the breast, the thickest parts of the bird, from the inside. The outside is protected by the skin and fat. Finally, and most crucially, recipes tell cooks to season the inside of the chicken to make sure that cooks remember to remove the paper or plastic bag of innard parts and to wash the cavity before roasting -- this forces a cook to actually look and feel inside.
I too have always washed and scrubbed the inside, mostly heavy salted and rubbed that into the cavity, because I thought it helped protect against bacteria. Which I believe it was about a year ago now, I was told I was wrong. Oh well, I still do salt and throw pepper around in there from habit, and always always use aromatics generously which by doing that imho makes an amazing difference to the flavor of the bird.
Seasoning the cavity, especially with salt and pepper, helps give a roundness of flavor to the roasted fowl. However, when I want the flesh well seasoned, I get much better results by putting the seasonings under the skin and against the meat, then also packing in some butter. Makes for flavorful, juicy, well flavored meat.
If you're asking as a result of your Provencal reipe in the other thread, I would make my own "herbs de Provence" with thyme, rosemary, savory and lavendar (heavy on the thyme, light on the lavendar) and bash them around with a mortar and pestle, add a bit of kosher (or sea) salt and put that under the skin of the chicken. I don't particularly care for the ready-mixed herbs de Provence.
I've never been able to figure it out myself. I used to do it because of the recipe suggestions you mention, but I stopped a couple of years ago (pure laziness) and I honestly can't tell the difference. Of course, I do use a lemon, and other aromatics and herbs stuffed inside the chicken. But salt and pepper? No.
JFood, had to smile when I saw your post. Have read your recipes for roasted chicken and never wanted to confront why you don't season chicken cavity. Why do I do it? #1, truly do believe chicken tastes better with lemon, herbs, s&p, piece of onion & rib of celery. I like outside chicken skin crisp, but stuff inside chicken cavity seems to help keep flesh moist. Reason #2 (and most important) THIS IS THEY WAY BUBBE MADE IT FOR SHABBOS! Trust me, you don't want to tinker with that kind of voodoo!