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.


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.


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!

9 Responses to Jane Asher’s Chicken in a Pumpkin

  1. Melanie 6 Nov, 2018 at 10:48 pm #

    So thrilled to have my 15 minutes of fame on Silver Screen Suppers!

    Sorry the pumpricken didn’t work out— Jane’s picture was lovely. But my understanding is that the huge pumpkins aren’t bred for flavor, so maybe it’s for the best.

    • Jenny 14 Nov, 2018 at 9:42 am #

      Yay! 15 minutes of fame! If you think of something as genius as pumpricken you might even get half an hour!

  2. Lisa Mary London 7 Nov, 2018 at 3:49 am #

    Chicken in a Pumpkin for Halloween – no one could accuse you of being an unadventurous cook Jenny, or lacking a sense of occasion! I can’t imagine a more perfect centrepiece for a hearty All-Hallows-Eve feast, it looked gorgeous in your photos.

    I’ve often found oven temperatures/timings are ‘off’ in ancient recipe books, I wonder why? Maybe it’s an old vs modern cooker thing? Supermarkets are rammed with pumpkins this time of year, it’s great to find a culinary use for one.

    People moan about the modern Americanisation of Halloween, with marauding mobs of kids out Trick-or-Treating (or as it’s known in my house, ‘Mugging M&Ms with Menaces’). But as a big fan of the good old US of A, I think the Americanisation of anything always means FUN!

    One of my fave YouTube people is SassESnacks a stylish American gal who produces a fabulously self indulgent foodie/mukbang channel, have you seen it? Last Halloween Miss SassE made the most amazing Halloween buffet and I share the link here. I made the prawn/shrimp ‘Brain Dip’ and it was absolutely delicious! https://youtu.be/vu4rmgkugIc

    Alas I couldn’t find a brain jelly mould anywhere, Ebay let me down, as it did you with your pumpkin cruets, so I improvised with a skull mould instead. I adore your cheffy cruets set btw – in my book all cookery tools & tat should be as vulgar as humanly possible – kitchen has the word ‘kitsch’ in it for a reason!

    Loved Mr Rathbone’s Jane Asher gag, and thank you for reminding me about ‘The Masque of the Red Death’, delicious dark Autumnal viewing with a bottle of vin rouge!

    Oh and please tell me what ‘Brussels Sprout Dust’ is, I must not die without knowing!

    Samhain Salutations to the Goddess of Good Grub!

    Lisa. XXX

    • Jenny 14 Nov, 2018 at 9:17 am #

      Your lovely comment did make me laugh LML! I shall definitely check out Miss SassE… Do you write a blog my dear or are you too busy with book #2? How have I never come across MUKBANG? Thank you so much for opening my eyes to a new trend. I feel a YouTube marathon coming on…

      Brussels Sprout dust contains Ginger, Garlic, Chilli, Cumin, Coriander, Cardamom and Paprika. It is a tasty little sprinkling dust that is probably going to find its way on all kinds of veggies at Silver Screen Suppers Towers.

      Right, off to check out Miss SassE xxx

  3. Stuart Fleming 7 Nov, 2018 at 9:32 am #

    Do you know if she ever made it out of the pumpkin?
    I like to think she’s living her life now as a pumpkin head.

    • Jenny 14 Nov, 2018 at 9:08 am #

      Haha! She DID make it out of the pumpkin. I found this on YouTube because I’d read her story in the Guardian weekend magazine. One of those “true story” articles. I had to find it and it made me laugh so much when I did. Genius.

  4. Cakelaw 10 Mar, 2019 at 7:22 am #

    Great post! Found it looking for info on Jane Asher. This recipe is priceless and must try it for Halloween this year (if I remember).

    • Jenny 10 Mar, 2019 at 8:04 am #

      Ooh, just took a peek at your fabulous blog! Those honey blue-cheese madeleines sound delicious!

  5. Jenny 10 Mar, 2019 at 8:00 am #

    Hi Cakelaw, oh please, please, please do cook this for this Halloween! It’s a hoot to make, but you’ll have to use a bit of brainpower to work out oven temperature. Do get in touch if you try it.

    There are some other very entertaining recipes in the Murder, She Wrote Cookalong I am running – if you fancy joining in, just select something from the list


    Jenny x

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