Rubber chicken

No, I’m not talking about the ones you buy at the joke shop.

I’m talking about chicken cooked by me. The only way I can get a chicken to come out unrubbery is to roast a whole one in the oven. Any other chicken recipe, be it baked or fried or even boiled, comes out rubbery.

Over the years I’ve asked myself: Is it the chicken? Should I have bought an organic one? Maybe it’s breasts vs. thighs? Or maybe I cooked it too fast? Or too slow?

I’ve tried everything, and my chicken still comes out rubbery.

I finally stopped eating chicken for quite a long time, which was probably a good thing because I’m practically a vegetarian anyway. I stopped eating beef so long ago I can’t remember, and to be perfectly honest, eating animals kind of grosses me out. I can still eat a couple of kinds of fish, or tuna from a can, but I’m even a little squeamish about that.

The thing is, chicken and fish and even red meat still smell good to me when they’re cooking, especially if they’re fried or roasted. It’s a very seductive smell, and I think I’d have to say that I actually like the smell better than the taste, so I guess it’s that smell that makes it hard to quit cold, er, turkey.

Recently I tried cooking some chicken breasts, after my long hiatus of not eating chicken. They came out rubbery. Then it came to me: I cook chicken too long, and the reason I do it is because I basically think it’s gross and it just seems less gross overcooked. I remember being in Paris once and ordering chicken in a restaurant and it was undercooked. When I cut it, pink (read: bloody) juice came oozing out. That was such a turnoff that I knew I would never eat chicken again unless it was really, really WELL-COOKED.

I can’t be 100% sure if that’s why my chicken is rubbery, but it seems logical. I’m also pretty sure that my squeamishness about, as the vegetarians would say, eating “anything that has a face” will eventually lead me to eschew ingesting critters altogether.

And here’s a special offering from Roger Aldridge today!

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Rubber chicken

  1. I became a veg girl at 13 after asking my mom what veal was after ordering it in a restaurant. That was it for 7 years, then there was awhile when I ate meat again but like you said, always I had a icky feeling about it… Then when I met my husband, who is a veggie, it somehow made it easy to go veg again… Happily :)) I LOVE fake meat though… Some people don’t like the texture or anything that is trying to be like meat but I love it. There’s a vegetarian 50’s style diner on the north side (of Chicago) that has a ‘chicken’ fried steak that’s to die for! My M.O. is if someone has cooked something for me not knowing I don’t eat meat, I eat it, and once when we visited Costa Rica, a friend of ours ordered a tuna steak crusted in sesame seeds with a soy wasabi sauce and I had to have it! It was sooo good! Generally though I love veggies and seitan :))

  2. I love fake meat, too! Unfortunately we don’t have much here in Brazil, only veggie burgers and soy dogs. I used to love the little veggie breakfast sausages and the fake bacon!

  3. juliawade

    I have moved to cooking almost exclusively chicken thighs. My hubby is a thigh guy. Here’s what I learned to do with them:

    Quickly sear the chicken in a pan with olive oil and seasoning at a very high heat for just a few minutes on each side. ( I usually rub the thighs with garlic, sea salt, pepper,… before putting them in the pan.)

    Once they are browned, I remove them from the stove, put them in a baking dish and set them aside. Meanwhile, the oven is preheating to 350 degrees. Then, I take the hot pan, with the remains of the oil, and drippings, etc., and “deglaze” the pan with either a little white wine or a little chicken broth and stir the contents while they continue cooking and mixing together. I saute onions, garlic — whatever next in that mixture. After the onions are sauteed to my liking, I add more liquid — white wine, broth, whatever taste you like. Finally, I pour the whole contents into the baking dish with the chicken thighs and bake for about 20 minutes to finish cooking the chicken thighs. The chicken stays moist because its cooking in liquid.

    When they are done, you can serve them with the onions, etc just like that, or serve over rice, etc. Yummy!

  4. Great blog Amy! I’ve been vegetarian for a long time….close to 40 years. There are times when I’ll eat vegie meat like a vegie burger. What I’ve discovered is I don’t crave the taste of meat. Rather, it’s the taste of the spices & souces that I used have on hamburgers — in particular, BBQ. Thus, I can have a similar taste (of course not exactly but close enough) by having BBQ souce on a cheese sandwich.

    Besides things like black beans & cheese for protein, I have good results with goat milk yogurt and raw pistachino nuts. I get plenty of protein each day without doing anything special (like protein drinks or bars).

    I don’t miss meat at all. But, since I was born and raised in Kansas City, MO I have deep cravings for the taste of BBQ souce every now and then. So, I keep a bottle in the refig. :))

    Best Regards, Roger Aldridge

    • Yeah, Roger, I can relate to all of that…I eat about 98% vegetarian right now, and yes, it’s definitely the spices and seasonings that I crave. That’s why I like the “fake” sausages and bacon, although I can’t get them here. I eat loads of beans and soy (addicted to edamame), nuts, veggies and fruit…also grains, especially polenta.

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