So, week two got off to a good start, after I went to the Hampshire Farmer’s Market to pick up a lovely free range chook from Noah’s Ark Farm. I was making another Jamie Oliver recipe, also from Jamie’s Dinners, called Super Tasty Spanish Roast Chicken – how could I resist, really? There’s no ‘cooked’ photo in the book, and I haven’t got one either, as I ran out of light, but the thought of crispy roast chicken skin tinged with the dark crimson of smoked paprika from the chorizo garnish was enough to get me motivated. I had to cheat here slightly as Jamie’s very keen that I buy an organic free range bird, but the only ones I found at the market were about double the price of a supermarket one. Why should I pay for a chicken to eat what I can’t afford? Pah!

Week Two: Noah's Ark Free Range Chicken

So, here’s the bird – £8.41, not too bad. And with giblets… scary! Luckily, these were bagged and were swiftly removed to the freezer. I haven’t come across a recipe that needs them yet, but I’m sure I will, and it always seems to be when you don’t actually have any… I’ve had a traumatic past experience with giblets which gives me a totally legitimate reason to get freaked out by them, I’ll have you know. As a spotty youth I was charged with making the roast dinner at my uncle’s house one Sunday, and, for some reason, this involved me submerging a whole chicken in a sink of water, probably to defrost it. As I did so, the cavity filled with water, and out popped a dishevelled brown bag filled with chicken guts, which promptly exploded and covered my hands and the dead chicken with scraps of heart and liver. Ugh. I tend to keep away from guts now…

Anyway, so. Here’s the costing:

Noah’s Ark free range chicken, 2.2kg : £8.41
Tesco chorizo sausage : £2.99
2 for 1 baby potatoes, costed for one 1kg packet : 59p
4 lemons : £1.00
Bunch parsley : 79p
Garlic : 20p

Grand total : £13.71

Chorizo is so damn expensive, but luckily, it’s totally worth it.

Week Two: Ingredients for Gremolata

So, Jamie wants you to make a (looks it up) gremolata, which is chopped lemon zest, raw garlic and parsley. Never made this before, and it was delicious. I don’t know that it will be my condiment of choice for roast chicken hereafter, but a little exploration is what it’s all about, right?

Note that Jamie’s recipe calls for a beaten egg – this phantom egg doesn’t appear in his online version, but it’s been confuddling cooks online for a while, because it never gets used in the recipe. I think maybe Jamie just wants you to beat an egg for this recipe so that you can ponder that age old question – which came first? His answer being, presumably, that the egg never came at all. Wow, philosophical…

Week Two: Super Tasty Spanish Roast Chicken

So, here is the chicken all dressed up and ready to party. The cavity is filled with hot lemons and parsley stalks – I definitely will always boil my lemons first before adding them to a chicken to roast. I first came across this in another Jamie recipe and it really helps the lemon scent to flavour the bird – it steams it in lemon scent. Of course, I am an idiot, and I turned the oven off about ten minutes before this step, so the chicken had to sit on the side and generate some delightful bacteria before I could put it in the oven. No, luckily that didn’t happen, but obviously hot food + raw poultry + sitting around = bad idea.

Before you pop the chook in the oven, though, you have to cover it in damp parchment paper, which ‘seal in the juices’. I have to say, this part didn’t work so well for me. The paper got quite burned, and left a bitter taste to the flesh and juices, and charred paper also coloured the stock a muddy grey. I don’t know how necessary it is, but I might use foil if I did it again… Which I won’t for a WHOLE YEAR. Probably.

Week Two: Super Tasty Spanish Roast Chicken meal

This is the stunt double meal – like I said, by the time I got to serving dinner, the light had totally gone, but luckily there was enough left over for me to take this shot the next day.

I served the chicken with ratatouille and Leon’s Magic Beans, and it was delicious.

Week Two: Super Tasty Spanish Roast Chicken meat 'n' taters

Scores:

M gave it 8.5. He likes chorizo, he likes chicken, he likes potatoes. Altogether, a pretty good combo. The gremolata went down well, so a good success. But he did wonder how it was possible to ever score a 10, and frankly, so do I…

I gave it 8. I really liked it, but it somehow wasn’t chorizoy enough for me. I wanted the rich, greasy, spicy taste of the chorizo, cut with the zesty fire of the fresh lemon. It was a lot more subtle than that. Also, the parchment paper really didn’t do well on top, and I didn’t like having grey gravy… And, as per Jamie’s instructions, I sprinkled parsley on the top, which was a mistake, as it pretty much got cremated and turned very bitter. On the up side, it made delicious spuds and we had loads for lunch the next day!

Week Two: Super Tasty Spanish Roast Chicken meat 'n' taters closeup

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