Chicken Good – Smoke Bad!

Easter Sunday was nice. We invited the kids over for brunch – they were unable to come for a turkey supper, so we met in the middle. As it was also Susan’s 50th Birthday the following Monday, we celebrated the two together.

Nat and I decided to cook a small chicken the day before so we wouldn’t be rushed on Sunday morning and we’d be able to enjoy the family. We dressed our little bird and popped him in the oven. According to this new recipe I found, it would take very little time – in fact only an hour. We dressed the bird accordingly and not remembering what pan I had used the first time, I pulled out the usual cookie sheet, and we popped him in a 450 degree oven. The directions called for the chicken to be cooked at that temperature for 30 minutes until the chicken reached an internal temperature of 120 degrees, and then turn off the oven and continue cooking for a further half hour or until done. This recipe worked like a charm the first time we did it, but this time the oven began to smoke within the first 15 minutes. Sitting in the living room we could see the cloud of smoke billowing from the kitchen and within seconds the smoke alarm began to make its ear-piercing noise.

Nat removed the smoke alarm cover until the smoke cleared and during the last half hour the chicken cooked and was looking good. I suddenly remembered that I should have used that deep-sided frying pan we had used when first testing this recipe and the drippings wouldn’t have had anywhere to go, but in the pan. Silly me, but it was too late.

Once the chicken was done, we covered it up and put it in the fridge until the morning when we would carve it. I also prepared as much of the dining table I could and we were good for the day and then continued on with our day.

Sunday morning arrived and the kids were all in good spirits. A wee bit of a shock once Bridget (the youngest grandchild) walked in. She had died her hair pitch black and it was now apparent she was in those teenage stages of change – as daring and as bold as she could get it. We soon sat down for a nice lunch and Susan opened her present after enjoying tea in the living room. Her two girls had emailed us to say their mother really needed a new external hard drive for backing up her photographs and that they would contribute also. Susan was extremely grateful.

Awaking on Monday morning we had a second look at the stove. My God it was a mess, grease was all over the inside, including the door. Having a self-cleaning oven, we decided that we should clean the interior before using it any further; we would turn it on and let it run overnight. Turning on the auto-cleaner around 10:00 pm, it wasn’t long before we could smell the odours emanating from within. It was also becoming evident that a few puffs of smoke could also be seen bellowing out from under the control panel and door. What were the odds that shortly thereafter the smoke detector began its ear-piercing noise again. “Here we go again”, the two of us said in harmony. We quickly opened the patio doors, the dining room window and turned on the oven and ceiling fans. While watching the news we  began to feel as if we were living in a smoke house. Luckily our little fans pumped their hearts out and the smoke soon dissipated through the open windows and within an hour our lungs were breathing a sigh of relief.

As I wondered off to bed around 11:00, Nat and I couldn’t help but wonder if we would be awakened by the sounds of more shrieking from the smoke detector. We could only hope it had gone to bed for the night, too!!

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