Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stuff it - I'm having chicken

Roast chicken is not, strictly speaking, a recipe in the Edmonds book. There's a page or two of directions and handy hints about roasting a chicken, but it isn't actually a recipe. That's ok, though, because there is a recipe for basic bread stuffing, (p135) which, incidentally, also allowed me to make a terrible pun in my blog title (apologies).

Since the basic stuffing sounded a bit boring, I went for the apricot variation. This meant I had to soak some dried apricots in orange juice for 2 hours before making the stuffing - a stretch since I only set them to soak when I got home at 5pm.

So it was around 7pm before I blitzed up my stuffing in the food processor and stuffed the chicken. Since my chicken was a pretty small one, I had stuffing left over - I wrapped the rest in tinfoil and bunged it into the roasting dish next to the chicken. Next,  I fossicked through my cupboards for roastable veges and threw in some pieces of potato, kumara, onion and a couple of cloves of garlic. This, of course, is something I could have been sorting out while the apricots were soaking, but I didn't really think about veges until the chicken was stuffed.

With my trusty Edmonds book as a guide, I'd calulated the cooking time as 1 hour 10 minutes. Wanting to throw in some capsicum later in the roasting, I set the timer for 50 minutes and went into the lounge to read a book.

At the 50-minute mark, I pulled out the roasting dish to add the capsicum. The chicken was looking pretty close to done, so I tried piercing the thigh and found the juices running clear. I was a little uneasy about taking my chicken out 20 minutes early, though, so I put it back in for another 10 minutes.

Taking the chicken out 10 minutes later, I tested the thigh juices again - definitely clear. I put the chicken on a board to rest and stuck the vege back in, since they weren't quite done.  A little later, however, the chicken was leaking bloody juices onto the board. So, despite the "juices run clear" test, it didn't seem to be completely cooked. Well, I didn't want uncooked chicken, so back in the oven it went!

Finally I was satisfied that the chicken was cooked. I removed the chicken and veges from the pan, and managed a passable gravy from the pan jucies. Normally I wouldn't bother, but recent events have made me determined to get the hang of gravy. This one, while not wonderful, was heaps better than my last attempt.

I carved the chicken according to the carving guide on p134, thus dismantling the carcass much more neatly than I usually manage. Finally, at about 8.45pm, I had a plate of roast chicken, gravy, apricot stuffing, and veges. The plate doesn't look all that appealing in the picture, but it tasted pretty damn good!

Since I'm technically writing about the apricot stuffing recipe, I should probably give you an opinion about it. While I don't consider myself a stuffing connoisseur, I found it really nice. Soft, moist and fruity - I would (in fact, probably will) make it again.

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