Saturday 8 June 2013

Saturday 8th June - Recipes for Father and Son - The Chicken

Hi there! These are for you-hoo!
This is the Jamie Oliver recipe. He roasts his chicken on a pile
of chopped vegetables, which he then uses to make the gravy.
You can perfectly well roast a chicken by just bunging it in the
oven but I strongly recommend using this method 

While the son was here the other weekend we ventured into the realms of Roasting A Chicken - a skill that my father has already mastered.
We used one of those chickens that comes in a bag and tray so just needs unwrapping and putting in the oven. It was a free-range high welfare one. I would rather go without than  a factory farmed chicken.

Son was also shown how to Divide the Chicken (carving is too specialist a term for what happens to a cooked chicken in this household) and how to Pick the Chicken (note to father - it's the same as the Christmas turkey, but takes less time, and it is more noticeable if you do too much nibbling as you go along...)

So, what happens to the left-over chicken?

Cold, with salad and new potatoes is very good.
Chopped into small pieces, in a sandwich (you can spread a thin layer of mayo on the buttered bread before arranging the chicken bits on top; add some lettuce if you are really striving for a gourmet experience).

We did try adding it to a honey and mustard flavour "Chicken Tonight" sauce but we won't make that mistake again. I might use the sauce as a post-modern custard for apple pies another day - no, don't be silly, I'm only being rude about the sauce.

And here is a Mediterranean effect sauce you can make.  This makes enough sauce for about three or four servings, so use what you need, and put the rest in a LABELLED container in the freezer until the next chicken.

It's basically the same idea as cooking mince for pasta, but without the mince;

Heat a dollop of oil in a largish saucepan. Keep an eye on it, while you chop an onion (small onion for small amount of sauce, medium for medium amount of sauce, large oh you get the picture now) and dump the onion into the hot oil.

Cook it gently, while you prepare the rest of the veggie bits. Choose any or all of some of:

celery sticks - chopped
garlic  - 1 or 2 cloves squidged through a press (Jamie Oliver doesn't bother to peel the papery skin off first, and now neither do I)
red, green, yellow peppers
mushrooms, sliced
carrots, chopped into little bits
courgette, chopped into little bits

Bung, sorry, add, your veggie bits into the pan as you go along, and stir it all about. When the onion is looking transparent and things are getting hot and bothered in the pan, add a can of chopped tomatoes and half a can of water.

Seasoning; all or any of:

some stock (half a stock cube, or equivalent), dried herbs totalling about a small-medium teaspoonful, pinch of salt, grind in some pepper, a shake of tabasco if you are feeling fierce, a squirt of tomato puree, whatever. Stir it in! 

Put the lid on and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the veggie bits are cooked. Now is the time to cook whatever else you are having (pasta, potatoes etc)

NOW. THE RULE FOR CHICKEN IS YOU CAN ONLY REHEAT IT ONCE. And you don't want to leave it festering in the fridge for more than 2 days before you eat or freeze it. Maybe 3 days. Depends how long you left it hanging around in the kitchen after cooking it.

So, decide how much of the chicken you are going to eat now, and put it into another pan. Add as much sauce as you think it needs to make it into the sort of thing you want to eat, and put the rest of the chicken back in the fridge.

Heat the chicken-[and-sauce you are going to eat until it is hot all the way through. Test by burning your tongue on a bit of chicken to be sure. That only takes a few minutes. If you have added lots of veg, all you need are potatoes or rice or pasta or Chinese noodles or garlic bread to make a complete meal.

Once the rest of the sauce is properly cool, you can decide what to do. Freeze it in portions, with or without the rest of the chicken added to it. LABEL and DATE and FREEZE it promptly. Use within a month or so.

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