Wine Chicken Cooker - Review
Keep Chicken Moist While Infusing It With Flavor
In one of Pulp Fiction's many memorable scenes, John Travolta and Uma Thurman enjoy a night of dinner and dancing. When Travolta orders a steak, the waiter asks whether he would like it "burnt to a crisp or bloody as hell," aptly highlighting the difficulty of cooking meat to perfection. When cooking chicken, the challenge is less how well done the meat should be, but more how to keep it moist and infuse it with flavor. Using this wine chicken cooker, it is easy to do both.
A large earthenware bowl with center well, handles and pouring spout, the wine chicken cooker is not another electrical kitchen appliance to plug into already overloaded wall outlets. The whole design is so simple that instructions number only a few lines on the side of the box, rather than a separate manual. Basically, you fill the center well with wine, remove the chicken's innards, wash the chicken and season it, position it vertically over the center well, plug its neck opening at the top with aluminum foil and then put the whole thing in the oven. As the exterior of the chicken bakes, wine steams the interior, not only keeping the chicken moist, but infusing it with flavor. We filled the center well with a robust Spanish red wine, which imparted its flavor to the chicken only slightly.
The wine chicken cooker's simple form limits its function, such that it only works for cooking whole chickens, rather than breasts or legs. And because the chicken is positioned vertically over the center well, stuffing the chicken is not an option.
Possibilities for varying the basic recipe are endless. Not only can virtually any seasoning be used, so long as it mixes well with your liquid of choice — beer could be used instead of wine — but the remaining space in the dish can be filled with vegetables. Be sure to use some kind of non-sticking agent, though, and turn your vegetables periodically to ensure that they cook evenly. We also found that the chicken took a bit longer to cook than the one and a half to two hours specified on the box. The end result — a delicious, easy-to-prepare meal — was well worth the wait.
Reviewed by Barnaby Hughes
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(Updated: 05/10/11 BH)