The chicken’s tale

November 11, 2007

Roast chicken

Sit down by the fire while I tell you a tale, of a sweet country chuck who came down to London, in search of romance and adventure. She arrived in a box all perky and fresh with her free-range friends – bacon, burger and boned leg of pork.

But far from leading a glamorous life, she soon found herself basted with butter and herbs (sage, rosemary and thyme), with half a lemon and a few chunks of white bread stuffed up her bum. Just as she was thinking the worst must be through, she was popped in the oven on a bed of her sliced country cousins – carrot, onion and leek.

Roast Chicken

She came out a while later all wrinkled and brown, and was left to sit naked while a bath of hot gravy was prepared for her debut appearance. In the gravy went red wine, stock and a bay leaf, some sugar and seasoning, tommy ketchup and soy, and a dribble of Worcestershire sauce.

Roast gravy

And after the meal, without further ado, her carcass was picked clean of the last scraps of meat, for a mustard-drenched sarnie to go in a London boy’s lunch-box. And even then her ordeal wasn’t through, for her bones were boiled up with more of the same – carrot and onion, leek and bay leaf, peppercorns and a bucket of garni.

Chicken stock

Into this rich stock went garlic, ginger and chilli, with brocolli and chard and a handful of rice. And so the last traces of a poor country chicken were drunk as a Monday night soup. Let this be a warning to all Devon poultry – stay in your coops all cosy and safe, and don’t dream of a life in the city.

Chicken, brocolli and chard soup


19 Responses to “The chicken’s tale”

  1. Lauren Says:


  2. Joanna Says:

    Very interested in the bread you put in the cavity .. never heard of that before, why do you do it? And what do you do with it at the end? Would it make bread sauce?


  3. gastropunk Says:

    joanna, the idea with the bread is that it soaks up the juices during roasting – it’s the simplest stuffing recipe I know, and, if you’re lucky and the chuck is a good ‘un, it comes out gooey and unctious. a french boyfriend of the sister of an ex-girlfriend of mine showed me this trick, great for a lazy cook on a lazy sunday.

  4. BB's Richard Says:

    Are you trying to turn me Veggie?

  5. lutra25 Says:

    The bread-up-the-bum trick was definitely a winner with me. The gooey chicken-flavoured bread was crispy at the edges that had stuck out of the bum whilst cooking. Yummy.

    Maths Chick x

  6. Mopsa Says:

    Can we have the tale of the Devon duck next? I have a pair of wild ones freshly plucked to play with this week….

  7. gastropunk Says:

    Mmmm… I think the tale of the Devon duck may run along very similar lines… the details may be slightly different (she may be cruelly dismembered prior to roasting) but the tragic ending is likely to be the same…

  8. Helen Says:

    Made me chuckle!

    I’ve been getting a Riverford veg box for about the same length of time as you, and the day the box cometh is now my favourite day of the week.

    Given your posts about the meat box, though, I’m now going to have to think about getting that as well…

  9. Mopsa Says:

    Here’s a present for Christmas – but strongly suggest use rum or brandy and not Calvados as Hugh suggests. Green and Black’s cooking choc (and their cocoa for sprinkling) is fab for this.

    A recipe tweaked but based on River Cottage chocolate brandy truffles – makes about 50.

    300g dark chocolate (2 x Green and Black cooking choc bars), broken up
    200ml double cream
    75g icing sugar
    50ml dark rum or brandy
    2 heaped dessertspoons honey
    Pinch of salt
    Sifted cocoa powder, for dusting

    Put all the ingredients (except the cocoa) in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of just-boiled water. Leave to melt, stirring only once or twice.

    When the truffle mixture is completely melted and blended and no longer too hot, spoon into petit fours cases. Leave to cool, then chill until firm. Sieve with a bit of cocoa before serving.

    Amazing and gets the best compliments ever.

  10. stratfordgirl Says:

    Got any recipes for Kale?

  11. […] and thyme, and 4 crushed garlic cloves and rested it on a base of chopped the vegetables.  I take Toby’s ex-girlfriend’s sister’s French boyfriend’s tip (phew) of popping a crust of bread of bread in the rear of the bird.  You can’t use any old […]

  12. SallyGardener Says:

    oooh yum. Loved the beetroot soup recipe too.

    the one who’s trying to eat seasonally for a year

  13. Hey folks, missing your awesome recipes, haven’t seen one in a while 😦

  14. saibose Says:

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  15. I notice in your ‘Blogs I’m Reading’ list, you don’t have ESTHER IN THE GARDEN .

    – but you might (might) like it!

    Esther Montgomery

  16. Innocuous Says:

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Innocuous

  17. Garrett Says:

    “Macrobiotics is not a diet. Macrobiotics is an orderly approach to diet and lifestyle. Through principles of harmony, balance and change we continually learn how to make healthier choices in our eating habits, diet, activity and lifestyle.

    Macrobiotics is also based on the understanding that spiritual health, the development of endless appreciation for all of life, leads to mental, emotional and physical health. The healthy choices we each make on a daily basis also benefit society and the environment.”
    -Denny Waxman

  18. I wonder if you still read your comments.
    I just found this blog and I really love it. I wish you were still doing it, but anyway there’s loads for me to catch up on and maybe when I’m done you’ll be writing it again. Thank you for your enthusiasm and inspiration.

  19. Some people want drop down links and may indeed benefit from such an interface. We do NOT. We actually want to display some links (with link images!) Click

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