Want to pull my pullet?
My Secret Recipe Club assignment for October was A Little Nosh, which is a site I’ve visited before for recipe ideas. Every one of Amy’s baking or breakfast projects looks mouthwatering… but if you’ve been following my State Fair entry extravaganza, you can guess how eager I am to bake right now. Fortunately, she also had the answer to a question that had been on my mind for almost a year: is it possible to make “pulled chicken” in the manner of pulled pork?
The answer is a resounding YES. Indeed, it’s easy, with her Pulled Chicken for Dummies instructions. Since she’s from somewhere on the Atlantic seaboard (yes, I feel vaguely like a stalker!) and I usually pair chicken with hip-hop or R&B, I thought Washington, D.C.’s Thievery Corporation (site) might be a fun and eclectic accompaniment.
Technically, Thievery Corporation is “trip-hop,” or dreamy, psychedelic, heavily electronic hip-hop with some world-beat overtones. I’m checking out its 2011 album, Culture of Fear, which means I’m late to the party, as this is album #7.
Technically, my “chicken” is a Cornish game hen. This happened because Amy recommends mixing light- and dark-meat chicken parts. With the packaging options available at Funkytown Safeway, this would have required purchasing a quantity of chicken that’s about three meals for a family of four, but several agonizing months’ worth of chicken for a girl with a small appetite who lives by herself. Smaller quantities of chicken were all of my favored boneless-skinless variety… but my experience with pulling pork suggests that some fat, skin, and bone are helpful in providing flavor. Hence, the Cornish game hen at $5 a hen.
Chop up a nice big hunk of onion and sauté it in a little olive oil. I tend to avoid salting and peppering food, so instead I added a big dollop of jarlic and a good shake of poultry seasoning.
When the onion is transparent, unveil the game hen and toss it in the pot, where it will look obscenely naked. There’s a solution to this problem. Pour chicken broth over it. Keep pouring. Between the configuration of the bird and the size of my only appropriate pot, this took the entire box of Swanson low-fat, low-sodium, no-MSG chicken liquid. And then I still had to add water to get the game hen mostly covered. If you are not on the hearty pioneer woman track of making your own chicken broth, definitely buy the low-sodium kind for this project, as otherwise you’ll be adding enough salt to fossilize poor Henny Penny.
Leave it over a medium-low flame for an hour or so. This gives time to enjoy Thievery Corporation’s progressive politics or its penchant for mixing real instruments with electronic noises. If you’re politically conservative, you probably want to stick with the latter.
About the time that you start thinking about making a quick-and-easy starch for dinner — sliced yams in olive oil and paprika, 350 oven, 15 minutes! — flip the game hen. When it’s done, the skin will pull away from the meat, and the meat will literally slide off the bone: you barely need the requisite two forks for “pulling.”
This. Poultry. Is. Amazing.
I didn’t bother to make it into anything — I just pulled half a game hen (being careful to get both light and dark meat) and served it with my yam slices and a green salad. (Yes, a salad. I said I was going to eat vegetables.)
The game hen is tender.
The game hen is flavorful.
The game hen is evenly cooked.
Amazingly, the game hen is not salty.
Just make it. Eat it. Enter a trance state with the ethereal vocals of Lou Lou.