Not so pretty, but delicious!

I helped to kill a chicken once.  As an adult, I figured that if I were going to eat animals I should be willing to do the dirty work.  I knew a single solitary killing wasn’t much of a commitment, but it was better than none at all.

Unlike the official bloggers here at 365foods I can’t claim farm life as part of my upbringing, but I wasn’t always a city-slicker.  At my most rural I was a gulf island child: climbing trees, peeing in the woods, and living in a cabin without running water or electricity.  Admittedly we usually fired up the generator for a couple hours in the evening, but life was all about kerosene lamps, wood stoves, and hand-pumping water into those blue jugs.

My best friend and neighbour lived on a hobby farm, and I became accustomed to hearing her name the animals that she would later blithely eat.  “This is Daisy!” She might say, pulling a parcel in butcher’s paper from the deep freeze.

So when years later a friend and I were offered the chance to play executioner I wasn’t too apprehensive about the prospect of killing my food.  My friend felt more fearful and passionate about the opportunity, so when faced with the axe and chopping block we decided that I would hold the bird and she would swing the axe.

The first swing left a good notch on the poor thing’s neck, but did no more damage than that.  The injured bird flapped out from under my hands and lurched around the yard as my friend shrieked.  Dismayed, we chased it down and brought it back to the block.  The next swing was timid and slow, but got the job done.  We apologized to the bird for such inhumane treatment and quietly went about plucking and gutting it.

At least we didn’t create a zombie chicken.  If you haven’t yet heard of Mike the Headless Chicken, look him up here.

I did not kill the chicken I prepared for this blog.  But just as I am the primary fish-bopper in this household I will not shy away if my chicken-slaying services are someday required.

I’ve had my eye on this recipe for Smoked Five Spice Chicken for some time, but it never seemed like the night to do it.  When Poultry Day came along I realized I had found my excuse.

I prepared it almost exactly as written.  I used a slightly smaller bird, marinated for almost a full day, and was very generous with my ginger and orange peel quantities.  I steamed the chicken until fully cooked because after the designated steaming it was only at 130F and I didn’t think the smoking would be sufficient to finish the cooking.

Finally, after smoking the bird I poured some water into the smoking mixture (no stirring), tasted the resulting sauce, and found it delightful.  So I poured a wee bit over the chicken as a glaze.

The result was wonderful.  Despite the bold ingredients this was a subtle dish, but the meat was thoroughly infused with the spiced flavour and was incredibly moist and tender.  I’ll definitely make it again.

~Sage

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