chicken run

my first proper post in three years... and it's not even a proper post:

after the recent flurry of celebrity chef campaigning on all things chicken, this non-celebrity-cook is resuming three very old but still relevant posts on the subject.


the endless chicken part 1

originally posted : 28/01/2004

lesson i learned: do not trust chicken that comes without qualifiers.

believe me, i want nothing to do with what is sold as "chicken" in this country.

the previous statement is obviously untrue: when i feel lazy i am keen to buy a dubious chicken provided that somebody spit-roasted it for me. when i feel dirty i treat myself to a kebab.

i don't let these slight incongruences distract me from the right way, so in my household chicken is a rare treat because good free-range-organic -not-necessarily-corn-fed-rare-breed chicken --(ehi! a LOT of qualifiers)-- is expensive.

let's say £6 to £8 per kilo --(imperial measures are banned in this blog)-- or £12 to £16 per bird.

money well spent: i won't fill our bodies with unwanted antibiotics and those two kilos will go a loooong way.

day one:
the oven is getting hot, the chicken is out, potatoes are cut. everything is well coated with olive oil and two halves of a nice lemon sit snugly in the birds' bum. a few garlic cloves.
in goes the roast tin and i'm off to play with isabella while zoe is having one of her long baths.

after 90 minutes isabella is sleeping in her cot --she is going to school now!!!--, zoe is almost out of the tub and the chicken is ready.

a nice green salad, a glass of wine... i am happy.

coming up: the endless chicken parts two, three and four (!!!)

the endless chicken part 1

originally posted : 29/01/2004

after the feast of the day before i'm still left with 800g of top quality free-range-organic-not-necessarily-corn-fed-rare-breed chicken meat and a nice well scraped carcass.
i eat all the brown bits from the bottom of the carcass on the spot, and a bit of skin too, sprinkled with sea salt flakes... is there anything better?? the answer is yes but not now.
so, after the feast of the day before i'm still left with 730g of... well, you know what.

half the meat goes into a salad with a grated carrot and two grated courgettes. i had bought the courgettes for isabella but even if organic, they are so out of season that i decide against feeding her those. lunch is sorted with a bit of cous cous on the side.

the carcass, with all the bones saved from the night before, goes into my beloved le creuset oval cast iron pot to which i add the following:
- a large onion, peeled and cut in half;
- a root of galangal, cut in half lenghtways;
- several bay leaves;
- a generous handful of sze-chuan peppercorns;
- three stalks of lemongrass, cut in half lenghtways;
- enough cold water to fill the pot.

i clarify the stock then use it to make a wrong zuppa pavese.
a zuppa pavese (soup from the city of Pavia) is very easy to get right, if you only break a fresh egg on top a slice of toasted bread (farmhouse, not prepackaged loaf!!) which sits at the bottom of a deep bowl, top it with grated parmesan and pour hot good stock on the lot.
i have no bread left and decide against parmesan this time so to give it some extra substance i add a bit of the chicken meat and some thinly sliced courgettes.

right or wrong, when the stock is good - and boy, this is amazing! -a zuppa pavese is at the top of the comfort food list.

there's still more than half of a brest left. i'll have it tomorrow in a sandwich (but i have to remember to go and buy some decent bread... not easy in brighton).

bottom line: four great meals from a chicken and i still have a couple of liters of stock to flavour my cooking.

endless or what?

what do we talk about when we talk about chicken..

originally posted : 12/04/2004

to know more, and eat less, go here.


links to learn more:

chicken out
fowl dinners
and since you asked:
take the red pill...