The Chicken Diaries (Part Two)

Saturday

I gleaned all the meat off the carcass and made stock. A LOT of stock. I reduced it for hours and hours, but still ended up with litres of the stuff. Not complaining about that though – it will come in useful. Here is the chicken sandwich I had for lunch with all the bits I rescued from the carcass before throwing it into the stockpot.

I had some Avocado’s that I bought for WAS 1.79 NOW 69p and begged a couple of slices of bread from my flatmate. A little smear of the leftover ‘Elizabeth Sauce’ mayo lifted it from boring old Sarnie to something approaching divine. I think the word ‘tangy’ needs to be bigged up here. There’s something electric about flavours that just catch the back of your tongue and zing all the way up your jaw.

Sunday

Another chickenless day. Was treated to coffee and Rhubarb tart at le Pain Quotidien by a long lost friend and kindred spirit who I haven’t seen for years. What a treat to spend the day in good company talking, eating, laughing, drinking, weeping, walking.

Monday

Due to exhaustion and lack of sleep all logic and reason abandoned me. I started cooking Pumpkin gnocchi, which was too ambitious, too wet and gloopy, in short a total disaster. I kept adding more and more flour, but it wouldn’t hold. In the end I just gave up and tried to cook it as some kind of bread, which was also a disaster. I might have to force myself to eat it – otherwise what a waste of pumpkin, and expensive eggs too. Perhaps it can be resurrected as dumplings or croutons in a different meal.

Thankfully, at the same time I had decided to cook up some beetroots purchased nearly two weeks ago. They were looking a little sad and shriveled but revived with an overnight soak in cold water. So I ended up having borscht – which I cooked with the chicken stock.

Borscht

Feeling rather peckish whilst waiting for my borscht to cook, I sat down with a plate of chicken and gnawed on it in manner of Obelix on the last page of Asterix comic.

Come on, admit it. This is one of your food fantasies too. Yeah, so it would probably have looked more hardcore and dedicated with a massive turkey drumstick, but I derived just as much pleasure from ripping and tearing at the little wing and drumstick ration as would a certain community of Gauls on feast day.

Them dry bones

 

Tuesday

Pot luck (I know, it’s an American word, but it works) and farewell to a friend. No chicken was harmed in the making of this meal.

Wednesday

More freestyling. Behold my fabulous artichoke and chicken ‘Risotto’. Also behold the not at all fabulous picture that accompanies a description of the dish. There was a jar of preserved artichokes that needed using up so they went in but I think they turned the rice all grey and murky. My intention was to make Risotto but there was only Basmati in the cupboard so my guess is that makes it a Pilav. I’m not too clear on the semantics of rice dishes. Citrus zest is my ‘thing’ at the moment, so experimented with grating Orange zest into the rice. It really worked well with a bit of allspice in lending a more exotic flavour to the whole thing without any real concerted effort. Parsley and chopped almonds to garnish and it was done.

Also made a salad with a Radicchio that my flatmate had rejected from her organic vege-box (WIN!) and the flesh of the now naked zested orange needed using up, so that went in too. After a taste test I decided that the bitter Radicchio actually didn’t complement the rice dish, so just had it as a starter instead.

Chicken and Artichoke Pilav 

Radicchio and Orange Salad with Walnut oil dressing

My favourite snack by far on this 10 day chicken adventure was one that I happened upon accidentally, fuelled by boredom and curiosity while waiting for other things to cook. Most of the dishes I made had the skin removed, and not wanting to throw anything away I kept the bits. One evening whilst waiting for something or other to boil, and poking at the flabby damp pieces of skin in their tupperware, I wondered what on earth they were good for.

Then I seemed to recall a television program in which a chef served blades of deep fried crispy chicken skin as a garnish. I decided to grill them and see how they came out. The result was incredible. Grilled chicken skin sounds just about as disgusting as it is delicious to eat. It wasn’t at all greasy as the extra fat melts and drips off. The result is a warm, papery sheet of concentrated crispy roast chicken deliciousness. This discovery alone was probably worth the £7.17 I paid for the fowl in the first place. Try it. Go on I urge you to just try it.

And so all too soon here ends the Chicken diaries.  I suppose a conclusion is expected, but given the plethora of flavours and dishes yet to be tried and tested… perhaps it is just the beginning and not the end.

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