Monday Night Martha: Exploding Chicken

Today's entry could also be called "How Not to Roast a Chicken."  The adventure started out in an innocuous attempt to cook a whole chicken with soy sauce, honey, ginger and scallions.

For most households, this would be a simple, everyday occurrence, barely worth a mention. You'd think we'd be old hands at it. After all, we regularly brave recipes like liquid popcorn,  and make strawberry basil martinis without blinking but for some reason, roasting a chicken is like climbing Mount Everest for us, and as a result, we don't do it very often. Who knows why. Maybe it's the defrosting, or maybe it's having to stick your entire hand up the bird to pull out the gizzards, neck and heart. Consequently, we don't have a decent roasting pan. We didn't want to use our giant pan for turkeys so at the last minute we opted to use a glass casserole dish.

We defrosted the chicken, mixed the soy sauce and ginger and set the bird to roasting as per the recipe. When it was time to baste it, we opened the oven and, wearing two oven mitts, pulled the chicken out. We were holding the dish in our hands when we heard a giant CRACK! The dish exploded, shooting glass shards across the kitchen.

It made a holy mess and even cut my feet in a few places, but thankfully no one was seriously injured. In talking with friends, we have learned that plenty of people have roasted chicken in glassware in the past, so we're not sure why our dinner went boom. It turns out though that exploding glassware is a relatively common, if dangerous, phenomenon. Consumer Reports even wrote an expose of sorts on the matter last year.

It took several hours to clean the kitchen and remove every last shard of the supposedly heat-treated glass. The next time we roast a chicken, we'll definitely use a metal roasting pan. That is, IF we try again. In the meantime, there's always take-out.

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Rene Gutel
Contact: Rene Gutel