Just look at that chicken! How relaxed and happy does it look? It should have sunglasses. Languishing at the edge of that dish, resting on a bed of comforting sauce, leg draped over the side, sporting a golden tan. Ah, roast chicken.
Not just any though. This chicken came from the South West of France via my butchers. I find supermarket chicken so depressingly bland, all of them, not just the battery (which I won’t touch – it’s just not right), but all of them. And you may think me some kind of middle class horror professing that everyone should buy posh French chickens, but really that is not what I am saying. Any chicken from a farm that has received proper care and attention and that has been allowed to roam free is good. Eat less and eat better. Farmer’s Market chickens are great, I just couldn’t get access to one today.
Not cheap, this one cost me just shy of £13 but used well it can still be a bargain. How so? I jointed mine and roasted the legs & thighs with some chorizo, iberico pork and tomato sauce for a delicious dinner (that would serve two). Crispy skin on top, succulent meat underneath and rich, fruity sauce below. I spiced the wings with sumac & thyme and roasted those at the same time. That was a gorgeous snack. That was dinner and greedy extra sorted.
I skinned the remaining carcass and roasted the salted skin on skewers, swoooon, I am a sucker for chicken skin. I also added some skin to little roasting potatoes, the fat rendered giving the potatoes a gorgeous chicken fat bath. The breasts and carcass remained, the carcass was boiled for delicious broth, and I used it to make Tom Yum soup with the breast meat.
Ethical concerns aside (and obviously they are very important), there is a huge difference in flavour. Supermarket chickens taste diluted and sad by comparison.
So, what was dinner tonight? I found some salted Iberico Pork Belly which was sinfully fatty (maybe 80%), pancetta would do too though. I fried about 100g of it and rendered some of the fat out, added 200g chopped fresh cooking chorizo, left it for a couple of minutes, glistening orange delicious chorizo juices and fat oozing out.
I then added 2 cloves of garlic. The garlic danced on top of the chorizo and pork fat, then I added a glass of red wine (rioja as that is what I had but any full bodied red would do), cooked it for a few minutes at a moderate to high eat and added a tin of good chopped tomatoes to calm things down and restore order. Good chopped tomatoes are essential, you will notice the difference. A further 15 minutes at a medium heat, then added to a roasting tray that would fit 2 legs & 2 thighs of chicken on top.
I roasted it for 10 minutes or so at 200 degrees to crisp the skin, and approximately a further 30 minutes at 180 degrees to cook it through without drying it out. A handful of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley to lift the flavours to finish. Served with some potatoes, although not too many as it’s very rich, although perfectly so.
A glass of red wine in hand and this in my gut, take that November! Over and out.