A careful reading of my previous post would reveal a mystery – what did we eat on Sunday? And did it involve any meat, as everything we bought at the butcher on Saturday has been accounted for?
Well, I forgot to mention that we visited a second butcher that morning in order to purchase a whole Bannockburn chicken. Ashburton Meats can order them in but we are happy to spread our favours.
After we returned to our home, we decided on a four-day sequence of meals that allocated the chicken to Sunday, to be roasted in the Weber Q.
Either side of a light lunch, our Sunday comprised a medley of activities to do with preparing our garden for both our forthcoming absence and the much-awaited still-not-arrived change of season. We were also busy ticking some of the boxes on the long getting-ready-to-travel list. By mid-afternoon, we were ready to turn our attention to the chicken.
We decided to make a stuffing using well-cooked brown rice. We first did this when my daughter-in-law, Sara was in hospital waiting to give birth – to my granddaughter Iris – and was in need of premium quality sustenance. Sara is gluten-intolerant, hence the rice. We have substituted the rice for breadcrumbs in some other dishes, eg stuffed mushrooms, and they sometimes work better. (By well-cooked, I mean boiled in plenty of salted water for 33-35 minutes.)
To the rice, we added chopped shallot (French or golden) sauteed in butter until quite soft; Dijon mustard; chopped parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme; a little piece of homemade preserved lemon, rinsed and finely chopped; some trimmed and chopped prosciutto remnants; salt and pepper; a drizzle of olive oil; and an egg yolk. (The egg yolk provides richness – you don’t need the white, all it does is inflate and, needlessly, bind the stuffing.)
By the time we put the chicken in the Weber – pre-heated to 200C – the chicken had been out of the fridge for about one hour. This is our usual practice for cooking whole pieces of meat; we give a large piece of beef 90 minutes or so. The aim is to have the meat at about room temperature when it begins to cook; this makes it much easier both to predict the outcome and produce meat that is well-cooked on the outside but not raw in the middle or around bone joints.
We roasted the Size 15 chicken for about 70 minutes – even at 200C the bird cooked gently, a feature of the Weber. For sides, we prepared spinach and potatoes as for the Birthday Dinner post, as well as herbed, halved tomatoes cooked in the Weber.
The chicken was perfectly cooked – golden brown skin, no undercooked spots on the inside and oh-so-moist breasts. The leftovers provided a work-day lunch for Maggie and a filling for four generous sandwiches. Yum!