Neither Nick nor I are particularly fond of turkey. Besides not being able to afford a full turkey, there was not really much point in getting one since it was going to be just us cooking food we liked. So it worked out. We bought a small chicken instead. I had no idea what to do with it. (It's occuring to me, Nick rather sprung the idea of this Event on me and I didn't really think about what I was going to do for it. I was just happy I wasn't going to have to do a turkey or feed ten people. So I thought of everything I did almost last minute.)
On Wednesday I was out shopping for some last minute items (and didn't get all of them as we had to go out Thursday afternoon also) when Nick called and asked me to pick up a snack for him. He asked for trail mix "or something." I found a small bag of trail mix on sale and picked it up. Then I found a bag of almonds for the same price! How often is it that you find a bag of almonds--skinless!--for $1.99? Even if they were flavored with cracked pepper, onion and garlic? I figured it was too much of a deal to pass up so I threw it in the cart with the trail mix. I was thinking that I could only afford one of the bags and trying to decide which one Nick would like better when he texted and said I could get something for myself as well. I bought both thinking that we'd split them.
Well, Nick didn't want the almonds, and he didn't have the time to wait for me to split the bags in half. So I ended up with all of them. Then I tasted one. WOW! I was impressed. I was impressed with how good that much pepper could be; with how well that would go with a chicken. And in that first bite (I kid you not) I knew what to do with the chicken and exactlly how it would turn out.
I spent that night grinding almonds by hand in my marble pestle and mortar set from my mom (thanks!). I did not grind all of the almonds, I left about a third out to eat. Nick finished those off after he got home; he said they needed more garlic. When we got around to cooking on Thursday I took the almonds I'd crushed and mixed them with some garlic flakes, sage, maybe some paprika and enough oil to make a really spectacular mess. I forgot salt. I rubbed it all under the skin on the breast, legs and wings and then I baked it for a few hours.
My chicken came out just like I'd thought it would (with the exception that I forgot the salt). It was perfectly cooked, crispy skin, and juicy enough to wring out. Nick asked for a leg and when I tried to pull it off the bone came out in my hand--clean and almost dry! It was one of the best Thanksgiving birds I've ever had.