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