It has been quite a while since I last put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard to update the blog.
We like so much of the country found ourselves covered in snow for much of December. It must be the most snow we have seen since we moved here over 5 years ago. Whilst I cannot deny the beauty of a blanket of white and the wonderful quiet that descends when the roads are bereft of traffic. It did little for our business at what should have been one of the busiest times of the year.
I do feel for all small businesses, where a bad month can crucify what may have otherwise been a reasonable year. I have spoken with local shop owners and fellow food producers who have had to pull their belt in another notch.
Talking of pulling belts in I managed to lose 2 stone in weight last year only to regain about ¾ of a stone through Christmas and our late week away in Scotland where we found some wonderful places to eat. I am swallowing the bitter pill and attempting to get back to some healthier meals.
We are starting with a pot roast chicken this evening.
I purchased a new deep casseroler with lid at a very good price in the sales and have been looking for an opportunity to make a pot roast of some sort. So when we found a reduced price chicken I jumped at the chance. The chicken is not free range but is not battery either. It is a middle of the road option where the birds are given space to act as they should with real light to live in. I believe that once the battery hens ban comes into effect next year this will be the norm.
Based on Delias Frugal food ‘chicken pot roast’ the bird will be partly roasted and then cooked on the hob. If T.W.O does not feed the rest of it to the animals as a ‘treat’ we should at least get one evening meal, tomorrows left over’s cold cuts lunch and then a soup from it.
You will need a casserole pot or pan with lid that is suitable for cooking on the hob and is big enough to get your chicken in.
I chicken (giblets removed)
5 shallots or an onion
A few cloves of garlic, skin off, chopped or crushed
A few carrots, scrapped and chopped
A skinned diced onion
A handful of swede , skinned and chopped
My chicken is 1.9 kg so I will be cooking it for 25 minutes per half kilo plus 25 minutes. In this case I will just round it up and say 4 x 25 minutes plus 25 minutes, the first 30 minutes of this will be spent in the oven and the rest cooking on the hob. So 2 hours and 5 minutes in total. However the chicken was falling off the bones so it could have been cooked for a bit less.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or gas mark 4
Remove the skins from the shallots or the whole onion and stud with a few cloves. Put these into the belly cavity of your chicken and roast – lid off for 30 minutes
Remove the chicken from the oven and put on the hob on a medium heat. Tip in all the veg, put the lid on and cook these for a few minutes while you boil a kettle of water. Put in some salt and pepper. I used quarter teaspoon of black pepper and a half teaspoon of salt.
Pour the water round the chicken until it is two thirds covered. Turn the chicken over and cook lid on at a gentle to medium simmer for half an hour.
Turn the chicken up the right way and complete the cooking time.
You should have a nice juicy chicken and a bowl of stock. Strain the stock of the vegetables and either eat with the chicken or discard. Keep the stock in the fridge once cooled where the fat should separate out and can be scrapped off the top leaving a bowl of jelly like stock ready to make a nice soup. I’m thinking leek and potato……….