The first time I did this food hack, I felt like I was an animator on Sledgehammer, and you have to admit that it DOES look ridiculous. The benefits of giving your chicken a spa treatment may not be immediately apparent, but I must, however ask you to indulge me for at least this blog post.
You see, after being tied up and packaged and shipped from pillar to post, the chicken is tense. It’s curled up and all defensive, which isn’t good for cooking. That chicken is keeping its limbs close to the body. This is not good for cooking.
A tense chicken doesn’t cook properly, often when roasting where the leg joins the body (hereafter called “leg-pits” in blokespeak) is often rare when the breasts have long dried out.
The question is how to relax the poultry, let those limbs hang loose from the body, so that hot air or hot water can circulate and cook it properly
It just so happens that Martin Yan has such a technique:
and after the said massage.
The massaged chicken is more chilled out and its limbs are hanging loose. The chicken massage makes the legs relax away from the body of the chicken. The first roast chicken I massaged before I roasted came out perfect. Not to be convinced so easily I did another, and another and so on. I even went back to doing it the old way without massage to check the difference. The only thing I haven’t done is two chickens side by side, one massaged and the other not. Whilst lots of other factors might contribute to the done-ness of our chicken, the efficiency of the oven for instance, at least in MY oven, massage prior to roasting does make a big difference.
It also makes it also easier to joint. If you’sre using the chef Pepin’s ballotine technique the tip he gives of working the knife into a chicken joint to cut neatly through it works much better once the chicken is relaxed. The joints are more open and easier to get into.