No longer a newbie, moving up!
You don't have a light meter problem you have a lighting problem. A light meter would not fix or help this problem in any way. Variations in camera settings will not help this problem. Bottom line: you shot the plate backlit such that the primary subject is in shadow but you're trying to process the shot with the primary subject well-lit. All of the trouble you're having with this photo derives from the single root cause that the dominant light source is behind the subject.
You can have a backlight in the photo if you want, but you can't fail to light the chicken in the front. Look at the chicken on the plate and see that it's casting a shadow toward you. It's a photo of the chicken. The chicken fills the bottom half of the frame. The bottom half of the frame is in shadow.
Am very interested in your response and thanks for posting.
The chicken needs to be at the front since it's the feature.
Photos is table and window (at night) ..
I can have my back to the window and shoot in the opposite direction but then I will cast a shadow.