Way back in 2008 I watched a TV series which opened my eyes to the sheer horror of intensively reared chickens. Hugh’s Chicken Run changed the way I viewed the bird, and ever since I’ve had strict rules about buying free range.
You get what you pay for
A decent sized (1.5kg) free range chicken should cost around £10. Supermarkets flogging them for a few quid is criminal in my opinion. By doing so an idea has been falsely created that chicken is cheap.
The trouble with cheap meat of course, is that the animals are subjected to horrendous conditions before being slaughtered. Especially battery farm chickens, who are also pumped full of water, growth hormones and antibiotics.
Food wastage appears to go hand in hand with it being super cheap. If you’re picking up a whole chicken for three pounds, you might be less inclined to care if half of it ends up in the bin. When it’s costing upwards of ten, you’ll want to get your money’s worth. I live in hope that more people start shopping locally, and buying their meat from smaller farms that actually care about their livestock. It’s time for us all to start taking responsibility for the food we put on our table. Sorry, rant over…
How to cook the perfect roast chicken
Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly roasted chicken? This is my fail safe, best ever recipe. You don’t need any seasoning or fancy equipment, yet you’ll be left with a stunning tasting chook.
– preheat your oven to 200C fan/220C non-fan/425F/GM7
– remove the packaging and butchers string, and pluck any stray feathers
– place the bird on a large non-stick baking tray and blast it for 20 mins if it’s under 1.3kg, and 30 mins if it’s over
– remove from the oven and flip the bird over in the tray so it’s breast side down
– place back in the oven and reduce the heat to 170C fan/180C non-fan/350F/GM4
– continue roasting for 20 mins per 500g of meat
– remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 20 mins before serving
Seasonal leftovers recipe
Ingredients (for two, could easily be doubled or tripled up for a bigger portion)
Handful of cooked chicken
Handful of cooked root veg
Large leek or two small ones – chopped chunky
Handful of cooked cauliflower, including the leaves
Handful of cooked asparagus
Tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
2 tbsp peanut butter (cashew or almond butter would also work)
160ml tin of coconut cream
– sautée the leek in coconut oil over a med-high heat until soft
– stir in the tamari, fish sauce and nut butter, mix well then add the cauliflower
– turn the heat down low and cook with the lid on for about five minutes until the leaves are soft and flavours have mingled
– add the chicken, asparagus and root veg, give it all a good stir then pour over the coconut cream. Cook for a further few minutes until piping hot, and serve immediately
Squeeze every last drop of goodness from your chicken by making fresh stock (bone broth) with your bones
One of the best things I’ve learnt to make in recent years has to be fresh stock (or bone broth to our friends in the States). It forms the basis of so many of my one pot dishes now, and of course soup will always taste heaps better when made with fresh stock. Here are three ways you can make your own stock.
The easiest way
Place a whole small chicken into a large pot, sprinkle over 2 tbsp of sea salt and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a low and simmer with the lid on for at least three hours. Alternatively use a kilo of raw chicken pieces instead. Drumsticks, legs, wings, anything you can get hold of.
The frugal way
Save up all your bones from roast dinners. Put them in a Tupperware box or freezer bag, and freeze them until you have three or four chickens worth. Place your bones in a large pot with 2 tbsp sea salt, along with veggie scraps to flavour it. Onion and leek tops, ends of root veg and a few cloves of garlic. Cover with water and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a low and simmer with the lid on for at least three hours.
The thrifty way
My personal favourite is buying carcasses from our local farmers market. The free range organic chicken stall sells them for a pound each, and I use two carcasses, then follow the method as described above.
Hands up who wants an awesome bone broth recipe? This is seriously good stuff, and will nourish you back to health if you’re suffering from winter bugs! . . Put a small #chicken, or kilo of chicken pieces into a large pan (#organic is best). Throw in a one inch piece of fresh #ginger and a one inch piece of fresh #turmeric, then sprinkle over 2 tbsp of sea salt. Cover with 5 litres of water, and bring to the boil. Then turn the heat down low and simmer with the lid on the pan for at least four hours. . . Trust me this stuff is liquid gold, and the tender meat is delicious in salads. This fresh #stock is the perfect base for #soups and #stews, and makes your house smell like Grandma’s house used to smell. What’s not to like? 💖 . . #thisisGAPS #bonebroth