Didn’t think I’d forgotten about my pledge to cook 52 chickens in 52 weeks, did you? Thought I was work shy, maybe? Ducking out already? No way! I’ve been cooking away and I’m actually on week five already, so if you want to accuse me of laziness, moan at me for not blogging about it! That told you, right?
Anyway, week four is drunken chicken. Yeah, I know – it sounded kinda good to me too. Boiled chicken, marinated in Chinese rice wine, then cut into pieces and eaten with plain rice.
Well, it wasn’t.
Blog warning: graphic, unpretty photos of grey chicken meat below… I know you all come here for my amazing kick-ass photography skills, and I do admit I should probably get some kind of award for it, but even I, with my amazing, elite ability (it’s like a superpower) cannot make a boiled chicken look good. I’d imagine it’s totally beyond the realms of physical possibility, to be honest, because if I can’t do it… well. You know.
No photo of the chook in its packet this time – it looks exactly the same as the chicken in the last week’s recipe, so here’s the costing:
Tesco’s chicken : £3.33
Ginger : 21p
Spring onions : 50p
Rice wine : technically free because it was already in the cupboard, but for 300mls goodness knows
Grand total : £4.04
The method for this is fairly simple – but, it does take several days to actually make this dish.
First of all, you stuff some ginger and spring onions up old chooky’s bum, and place it in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, skim, and cook for 15 minutes.
Here’s the scary part. When the 15 minutes are done, you have to put a lid on the pan and leave it, off the heat, for three to four hours. The remaining heat in the water will continue to cook the chicken until it’s peachily perfect and deliciously tender. Dare I do it? Dare I risk salmonella on a cheap £3.33 chicken?
Yes, of course!
It went surprisingly well, actually. Here’s the cooked chook with its skin still on – you have to remove it for this recipe, but the naked corpse was a bit too gruesome for a closeup… As you can see, the drumsticks are falling away from the body, which is a pretty good indication that this is cooked through properly. I also pierced the flesh to make sure no pink liquid ran out – it didn’t. We’re good to go!
Now, all that cooking liquid left over isn’t going to be wasted. That’s perfectly good chicken stock. So, we save that and reserve 300ml for our chicken.
Next step was removing the skin and jointing the chicken. I’ve never jointed a whole chicken before so I got really nervous and started looking it up in books and looking at YouTube videos to see how it was done. Of course, I forgot that this chicken is already cooked, so it’s much, much easier to joint it. Several times during this I simply used my hands. Yum!
Now, this is where I cheated somewhat, so I can only speculate as to how delicious this would have been if I had simply followed the instructions. Instead of salting my chicken now and leaving overnight, I had already done it. That’s right! I rebelled and salted the whole cooked chicken, leaving in the fridge overnight so I could take better pictures of the jointed bird. Now, I know you are overwhelmed by my stunning piece of photography above and can see how it was totally worth doing this, but you didn’t have to eat the result.
So, skipping the salting bit, because I’d already done it, it’s time to add the marinade to the chicken. It’s now day two, and once we add this marinade, the chicken has to sit for two to three days.
The marinade is 300ml of rice wine and 300ml of chicken stock. You can add 2tbsp of brandy if you want. I didn’t.
Now, there’s nothing to this but to leave everything in the fridge, and turn it every so often, dreaming of the delicious chicken you will no doubt be eating – after all, the more complicated and time consuming the dish, the better the results, right?
Nope. After three days sitting in the fridge, this chicken pretty much tastes like you would expect it to taste. Pretty alcoholic. Maybe you need fancier rice wine, maybe you need to be a bit of an alcoholic yourself, but I wasn’t impressed.
I salvaged this somewhat by serving it with that amazing ginger and spring onion dipping sauce I told you about here, but in all honesty, it was fairly overpowering.
So, the scores.
M gave it 2.5. After being coaxed with the dipping sauce, he gave it 4. Anything below a 5 we had already agreed is in ‘don’t bother making it again’ territory. So, this is the last time in my life I will ever make this dish. I’m not sad.
I gave it 4. It wasn’t really really bad, but it in no way paid off the planning involved in a dish that takes at least four days to prepare.
However, it did give us some lovely chicken stock and PLENTY of leftover chicken…