by Ben Miller
It was supposed to turn out so wonderfully. I had the chicken slathered with nearly a whole stick of butter mixed with fresh rosemary, sage, and green garlic (as per this recipe from the Amateur Gourmet). It had been in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees and was starting to get just a little bit brown on the wings and top. I turned the oven down to 350 degrees and walked away from the delicious smells emanating from the oven so that the bird could finish cooking.
That’s when, unbeknownst to me, things started going wrong.
Thirty minutes later I returned to check on the chicken, opened the oven door, and felt nothing. No blast of hot air, no heat whatsoever. The oven was only moderately warmer than a house in the winter. I glanced at the oven temperature controls, and sure enough, the light was blinking–something I had never seen before, but can only assume meant bad news.
I turned the oven off and then back on, and it promptly relit, but the damage was done. The oven had stayed hot enough to cook the chicken somewhat, so that 10 minutes later when I stuck a meat thermometer into both the thigh and breast, it registered 180 degrees–higher than the desired temperature even before resting. But it wasn’t hot enough to really brown the bird or crisp the skin. And, as I found out after butchering the chicken, it wasn’t cooked quite enough.
A quick post-butchering trip under the broiler helped fix some of these issues–crisper skin, meat that was better cooked, but it just wasn’t the same.
So I guess let that be a lesson–just cause you can leave something unattended, don’t completely ignore it. Oh, and get an oven that doesn’t randomly shut off on you and screw up what should have been a delicious roast chicken.