When did you last see giblets?
This is going to be a LONG post about chickens, so if you are here for Vincent’s curry recipe, and you don’t wish to wade through my blatherings about chicken, please proceed to the end of the post.
At a recent Guild of Food Writers‘ workshop I was reminded what a real chicken tastes like. We had a blind tasting where the lovely Christopher Trotter cooked four chooks in exactly the same way, and we could all really taste the difference between the cheapo factory farmed bird and the truly free range.
The thing that really sticks in my mind though, was the comparison of two leg bones. The first, from a French free range chicken was poker straight, the second from a British free range chicken had a kink in it. The reason? Because saying a chicken is free range, doesn’t necessarily mean it is running around the place pecking for food. Regulations here aren’t the same as in France, and if a chicken’s leg bone has a kink in it, it’s because it’s been sitting down, because it has got too heavy to move around. It doesn’t need to go and look for food, masses of food is plonked right in front of it.
My favourite of the four chickens by far, was the Pipers Farm truly free range chicken, absolutely scrumptious. Most of the workshop attendees agreed on this as the winner, with a few going for the French chicken, (poulet de Bresse), also free range with the ability to run around. It was a great result for Pipers Farm, as Peter Greig was there to tell us all about how they raise their chickens. It was absolutely fascinating stuff.
A few days later I got an email asking if I would like a Pipers Farm cookbook which had recipes for using ALL the chicken, not wasting anything and I said hell yeah! Imagine my surprise when an enormous box turned up containing not only the cookbook, but a chicken too. BONZER!
So here’s what I did with this remarkable, and super tasty bird.
1 – due to weird time constraints I did a roast dinner for me, myself and I, exactly to the recipe in the Pipers Farm cookbook. Nobody to share it with? More for me!
This included making giblet gravy. The smell of that COMPLETELY took me back to the past. Giblets. Genius. From now on I am seeking out giblets. The gravy was old skool and utterly delicious.
I had a leg with all the trimmings (including Vincent Price’s Petits Pois a la Francaise) and it was divine….
I pulled all the meat from the carcass and bunged it in the oven to make stock overnight. I have NEVER made chicken stock. I felt like a proper domestic goddess when I got up in the morning I can tell you.
and do you want to see the Pipers Farm chook’s leg bone?
2 – next day Anna came round for her tea. I made the really lovely Chicken, Orzo and Bean Soup with Spring Greens and Pesto from the Pipers Farm cookbook. This was soooooo fresh and light and tasty. Chicken soup for the soul, which was needed that night…
3 – and the day after that, Vic came round for his tea so I used up all the meat that was left in a curry. I did not waste a single morsel of that chicken and I’m very pleased with myself! I forgot to take a picture of the curry so here’s one I made earlier.
Vic enjoyed it so much he asked me to give him a curry making lesson. That will be FUN.
Mary and Vincent Price’s Chicken Curry from the Treasury of Great Recipes (1965)
3 lbs chicken, cut into small bite-sized pieces
½ cup cooking oil or butter
4 cloves garlic
4 medium onions, chopped
2 whole canned tomatoes, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon paprika (I used sweet paprika)
½ cup fresh coconut milk
In a heavy saucepan heat butter or cooking oil. Add garlic and onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until vegetables are golden.. Add tomatoes, bay leaf, cinnamon and cloves. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the chicken meat and cook over high heat for 10 minutes, shaking pan occasionally, until most of the liquid in the pan has steamed off. Reduce heat.
Add salt, curry powder, pepper, cumin, coriander and paprika. Stir to mix the spices with the chicken meat, being careful not to let the spices burn.
Add 3 to 4 cups of water or enough to cover chicken meat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 35 minutes.
Before serving add coconut milk and heat gently.
Still plenty of time to enter the #TreasuryCookalong (deadline is 6th November) – you could make this curry!
There are a few tickets left for the Harrods book launch event and I THINK a few left for the Vincent Price: Master of Menace, Lover of Live event – myself and Battenberg Belle are making canapés for that – exciting! Hope to see some of you at these events…