Wednesday, November 10, 2010
So...lesson of the day: Baking Soda is NOT the same thing as Baking Powder.
Over the weekend we went to the market and picked up a chicken which I figured I'd roast sometime during the week. But I always forget that it's hard to roast a chicken mid-week after work since more recipes take about two hours to cook. So I decided to go with the Zuni-chicken since this recipe consists of cooking a chicken at a high heat for about an hour. You do need to salt the chicken in advance (the recipe calls for 2-3 days) but that's easy as long as you plan ahead.
ANYWAY. I wanted to try out some tips that I'd seen on a recent episode of America's Test Kitchen that were supposed to help achieve a crispy skin. It involved separating most of the skin from the chicken before hand (this is kind of gross. At one point pretty much my entire hand was in the chicken-skin) and also incorporating baking powder into the dry rub....ugh. Now I'm an experienced enough baker that I know the difference between baking powder and baking soda. I didn't just run out of baking powder and assume that they could be substituted for one another. Somehow I just got it into my head that I was supposed to use soda and led to completely disastrous results.
Luckily the actual chicken was relatively unmarred and tasted fine (deliciously flavourful and juicy, even). But my favourite part, the skin? Completely inedible. I actually spit the first piece out it was so bad. It also ruined the drippings which is a crucial ingredient to the Zuni bread salad. So sad :(
Anyway, the funny part is that I spent the majority of the evening convinced that the baking soda was a bad idea and that maybe we just used too much. I don't really take cooking failures well so was kind of depressed about it when I realized that I was actually supposed to use baking POWDER! Idiot!!
So anyway, Zuni chicken is delicious but don't use baking soda in your rub. Actually maybe skip the baking whatever altogether as it's not even an ingredient. But please....don't repeat my mistake. It was gross.