This week got off to a good start, after I went to the Hampshire Farmer’s Market to pick up a lovely free range chook from Noah’s Ark Farm. I was making another Jamie Oliver recipe, also from Jamie’s Dinners, called Super Tasty Spanish Roast Chicken – how could I resist, really? There’s no ‘cooked’ photo in the book, and I haven’t got one either, as I ran out of light, but the thought of crispy roast chicken skin tinged with the dark crimson of smoked paprika from the chorizo garnish was enough to get me motivated. I had to cheat here slightly as Jamie’s very keen that I buy an organic free range bird, but the only ones I found at the market were about double the price of a supermarket one. Why should I pay for a chicken to eat what I can’t afford? Pah!
So, here’s the bird – £8.41, not too bad. And with giblets… scary! Luckily, these were bagged and were swiftly removed to the freezer. I haven’t come across a recipe that needs them yet, but I’m sure I will, and it always seems to be when you don’t actually have any… I’ve had a traumatic past experience with giblets which gives me a totally legitimate reason to get freaked out by them, I’ll have you know. As a spotty youth I was charged with making the roast dinner at my uncle’s house one Sunday, and, for some reason, this involved me submerging a whole chicken in a sink of water, probably to defrost it. As I did so, the cavity filled with water, and out popped a dishevelled brown bag filled with chicken guts, which promptly exploded and covered my hands and the dead chicken with scraps of heart and liver. Ugh. I tend to keep away from guts now…
Anyway, so. Here’s the costing:
Noah’s Ark free range chicken, 2.2kg : £8.41
Tesco chorizo sausage : £2.99
2 for 1 baby potatoes, costed for one 1kg packet : 59p
4 lemons : £1.00
Bunch parsley : 79p
Garlic : 20p
Grand total : £13.71
Chorizo is so damn expensive, but luckily, it’s totally worth it.
So, Jamie wants you to make a (looks it up) gremolata, which is chopped lemon zest, raw garlic and parsley. Never made this before, and it was delicious. I don’t know that it will be my condiment of choice for roast chicken hereafter, but a little exploration is what it’s all about, right?
Note that Jamie’s recipe calls for a beaten egg – this phantom egg doesn’t appear in his online version, but it’s been confuddling cooks online for a while, because it never gets used in the recipe. I think maybe Jamie just wants you to beat an egg for this recipe so that you can ponder that age old question – which came first? His answer being, presumably, that the egg never came at all. Wow, philosophical…
So, here is the chicken all dressed up and ready to party. The cavity is filled with hot lemons and parsley stalks – I definitely will always boil my lemons first before adding them to a chicken to roast. I first came across this in another Jamie recipe and it really helps the lemon scent to flavour the bird – it steams it in lemon scent. Of course, I am an idiot, and I turned the oven off about ten minutes before this step, so the chicken had to sit on the side and generate some delightful bacteria before I could put it in the oven. No, luckily that didn’t happen, but obviously hot food + raw poultry + sitting around = bad idea.
Before you pop the chook in the oven, though, you have to cover it in damp parchment paper, which ‘seal in the juices’. I have to say, this part didn’t work so well for me. The paper got quite burned, and left a bitter taste to the flesh and juices, and charred paper also coloured the stock a muddy grey. I don’t know how necessary it is, but I might use foil if I did it again… Which I won’t for a WHOLE YEAR. Probably.
This is the stunt double meal – like I said, by the time I got to serving dinner, the light had totally gone, but luckily there was enough left over for me to take this shot the next day.
I served the chicken with ratatouille and Leon’s Magic Beans, and it was delicious.
M gave it 8.5. He likes chorizo, he likes chicken, he likes potatoes. Altogether, a pretty good combo. The gremolata went down well, so a good success. But he did wonder how it was possible to ever score a 10, and frankly, so do I…
I gave it 8. I really liked it, but it somehow wasn’t chorizoy enough for me. I wanted the rich, greasy, spicy taste of the chorizo, cut with the zesty fire of the fresh lemon. It was a lot more subtle than that. Also, the parchment paper really didn’t do well on top, and I didn’t like having grey gravy… And, as per Jamie’s instructions, I sprinkled parsley on the top, which was a mistake, as it pretty much got cremated and turned very bitter. On the up side, it made delicious spuds and we had loads for lunch the next day!