Monday, 21 March 2011

Roast chicken and other recipes

I can’t think of a more perfect way to end a weekend and prepare for the week ahead than cooking a good old fashioned roast dinner.  Last Sunday I had no-one to cook for, just the kids and me- there was a chicken in waiting for this eventuality.  There are still a good few Elizabeth David whole chicken recipes for me to complete;  for this bird I chose a simple one, stuffed with a tarragon butter, the skin rubbed with olive oil.  The main difference was cooking it on a grill pan on its side and turning during cooking.  Of course it was delicious, crisp and moist, but the kids and I only managed a leg and a breast, so we were left with a whole lot of chicken.
 This was a special bird, free range and originating from Madgetts Farm, not a £30 one as seen in this week’s papers. But what was really good about this bird was that it fed my family for a whole week.  In comparison to my love for roasted chicken, I loathe leftover fridge cold chicken so I have to find appealing ways to use it up. As usual the carcass became a stock, first boiled up, then left overnight in the simmering oven with whatever is in the cupboard (bay leaf, peppercorns, carrot, celery, onion, leek).  On Monday I needed an antidote to ED so we relished a chicken curry.  On Tuesday some of the less identifiable parts of the chicken went into potato sausages- or to quote the children ”fish cakes without the fish”!  These were made from mashed potato with added stock, beaten egg, diced chicken and parsley, rolled to sausages in flour and lightly fried.  On Wednesday we digressed to cottage pie for the two year old’s birthday.  Then on Thursday and Friday there was chicken soup.  An Italian recipe I once learnt, you make a bechamel sauce to which you add chicken stock with chopped chicken.  This makes a fantastic imitator of tinned cream of chicken soup, but this stuff feeds you like nothing else, it nourishes the soul.  
Devoured by the whole family on Sunday, and still forthcoming with delectables for the rest of the week:  I heartily encourage you to raise a toast to our most traditional Sunday roast.

1 comment:

  1. I looove roasting chickens and then making use of the rest... for me the stock gets used in risottos most commonly though it's been used for other dishes on occasion. Then there is chicken pie, chicken croquettes and chicken baguettes... mmm!

    Another favourite is to cook the whole bird originally in a slow cooker (with standard stock-making ingredients such as carrot, onion and bay leaf and sometimes a slosh of white wine but usually just lots of water). It's so tender it's difficult to lift out of the liquid without it falling apart. And the liquid is the first stock. And THEN I put the carcass, skin (and neck etc if giblets) etc into the slow cooker overnight to make a second lot of stock. First time I tried this I figured the second stock would be insipid but not a BIT of it!