Jane Asher’s Chicken in a Pumpkin

Have you heard of turducken?  It’s a “dish consisting of a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, further stuffed into a deboned turkey.”

Blog reader Melanie asked if Jane Asher’s Chicken in a Pumpkin should be called a pumpricken – hahahahahahahah!

When I saw this photograph in Jane Asher’s Easy Entertaining cookbook with the chicken’s little legs sticking out, I immediately knew I had to make it. Wouldn’t you?

Jane is in The Masque of the Red Death with Vincent Price so I need to find an appropriate recipe for the Co*Star book I am working on with Peter Fuller of Vincent Price Legacy UK.

I thought this pumpricken might be it…

In the UK, now we have gone all American, pumpkins = Halloween so I decided to make this for our Halloween din-dins.

On the Sunday before the big night, Mr Rathbone measured my oven and scampered down to the big Tesco to secure a big pumpkin. He brought back a beauty.

On Monday I bought the smallest chicken I could find, hoping and praying that it would fit into the pumpkin.

Tadah!!!!

But there was a problem with Jane’s recipe.  I hadn’t spotted it before I started cooking, but there was no oven temperature specified.

WTF?

This wouldn’t have been a problem if this was just a question of roasting a chicken, but this was cooking a chicken inside a pumpkin…  It might surprise you to hear that I’d never done this before – Chicken in a Pineapple yes, Chicken in a Pumpkin no.

I had no idea what temperature would suffice.

I frantically googled to try and find another recipe, and this one looked similar. The pumpkin was in the oven for the same amount of time so I went with this temperature.

But after the recommended 2 hours, the chicken wasn’t cooked and neither was the rice.  We had to use a bit of brain power.  We took the chicken out of the pumpkin and bunged it back in the oven freestyle.  We put the lid back on the pumpkin hoping that the rice would continue to cook.  I then posed the chook for a photo

by this time it was about 9pm and we were starving.

The chicken was utterly delicious – it was sooooo moist and flavoursome – yum yum.  We had two large helpings and the next day I had two divine chicken sandwiches for my tea with the leftovers.  The chicken was delicious.

Will I try test cooking this again at a higher temperature so that it can go in the book?  MAYBE.  But this I might have to wait until next Halloween as all the BIG pumpkins have already disappeared from the shops…

Oh, I searched high and low on eBay for a little pumpkin salt and pepper man like Jane had in her photo

But this was the closest I could get…

As often happens when buying things on the internet, this was much BIGGER than I expected!  Anyone want a chef pulling a cart with a salt and pepper pot in?!

Oh, also I tried my new purchase out on the brussels and it was FAB.

Before I go, here’s a warning about sticking your head inside a pumpkin, answers to my Hollywood Halloween Lovelies quiz and a joke from Mr R.

We were in bed discussing Jane Asher one morning and the conversation went like this.

Mr R – You know who Jane Asher is married to don’t you?

Me – Yes, Gerald Scarfe.

Mr R – And before that she was married to Barry Trousers and Bobby Hat.

The Hollywood pin-ups in my previous post were as follows, Veronica Lake, Doris Day, Clara Bow, Betty Grable, Ellen Drew, and Carole Lombard.  Here’s one of Joan Crawford for good measure.

Don’t do this next Halloween…

Here’s Jane’s recipe, should you have big pumpkins at your disposal.  My scribbled notes about cooking temperatures probably won’t make any sense, especially as my oven runs about 40 degrees C higher than indicated on the dial.  So it’s over to you on the temperature my friends!  Good luck!

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