Some people see it as a waste of money, say it’s too much effort for one or they think it’s much easier to eat out with friends.
I concur with the latter point but completely disagree with the others.
For me a roast symbolises cosiness, comfort, good nutrition (bar the roast spuds), ritual, routine and family.
Growing up we had a roast dinner every Sunday without fail. Even when I was in my late teens and early twenties using my parents’ pad as a hotel, I used to come back from wherever I’d been for 7pm to have dinner. It was the grand finale of a good weekend.
Now, I rarely have one because I can never be bothered to walk to the shops and lug all the ingredients up the hill (so lazy) but when I do I’m like the cat that got the sparrow.
I get excited when I turn the oven on to 180, peel and chop the veggies (I love chopping vegetables as I find it therapeutic (read into that what you will ;-)) and put the chicken in the roasting tin.
Once the oven’s up to temperature and I’ve popped the bird in the oven, par-boiled the spuds, drained, shaken and left them to cool (a trick I learned from my sister), my ritual sees me trotting into the living room to watch some sh*te TV.
Oh, the smell of the chicken roasting is tantalising.
How long before I can cover the cooled potatoes in hot oil to crisp and get to eat dinner?!
Now there’s another question that’s raised at this point. To have a glass of wine on your own or not?
The arguments against are: you’re a lush if you do (think that one only applies to women), you’ll turn into an alcoholic, it’s only what sad, lonely, depressed people do.
For me personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a glass of wine or two on my own before, during and after dinner. If I want one, why not have one? After all wine and food go together :-).
Next question is, is the gravy the most important item on the plate? There are for and against to this one. I know several people who like dry roasts. I can’t even get my head around that concept – how can someone not want gravy on their plate? And the more the better!
As you can tell, I think it is the most important. My mum makes the most amazing gravy! She glazes the pan with whatever spirit is to hand, martini latterly, uses proper bouillon powder mixed with cornflour, separates the meat juice from the fat, pours in the boiled water from the vegetables and then let’s it simmer until it’s thick and lush. I’m salivating thinking about it!
My gravy is bisto chicken but I do use the meat juice and vegetable water to give it a little bit more flavour – all is not lost mum!
Dinner is ready and the rugby’s on! It’s time to pile up the plate and tuck in! Delicious!!
Now, the finishing prep. How much meat can I get off the bird before I throw away the carcass. I would love to say I’m one of those people that makes their own chicken stock but I’m not.
A heaped plateful is how much – probably enough for six people!
Let’s see how many meals I can get out of one chicken:
Meal 1 in the roast chicken house – chicken, potatoes, veggies and gravy.
No need to say anything, its all above!
Toasted rye bread that’s sliced incredibly thin like a ryvita, topped with half an avocado, mashed, dry-fried sliced tomatoes (to sweeten and soften them), left over chicken and dry fried left over roast potatoes to give it a bit of crunch and a little bit of milled black pepper. It did need something else so I topped it off with a little bit of extra reduced fat mayonnaise. Nutritious and scrumptious!
Meal 3 in the roast chicken house – Malay chicken curry.
I usually make this with chicken thighs but when you get home from work at 7pm and don’t want to spend the next 1.5 hours cooking, I’ve discovered leftover chicken works well.
Chopped up onion or shallots – or in my case both as I had half an onion in the fridge – fried until soft with some chilli powder.
Once the onions are soft, garlic, chilli, lemongrass, ginger and cumin can be added – fresh or from a pot. Stir round for a bit and then pop in the cauliflower so the florets start to absorb the spices.
Pour in the coconut milk – full fat or reduced, whatever’s in stock at the supermarket – and leave to boil. Turn down to a simmer and when the cauliflower is par boiled sweep in the mushrooms.
Then its the time of the rice. I’m rubbish at rice so really should buy myself a rice cooker. But, I try, and while the rice cooks I pop half the remaining plate of chicken into the curry sauce so it warms through in time.
Aromatic and filling, if a little beige!
And I made four portions! Froze two of them and had another with leftover rice (I’d made enough for two) for lunch or dinner.
Meal 4 in the roast chicken house – chicken pie (with potatoes not pastry)
With the remaining potatoes from the pack, I boiled them up and mashed them with Dijon mustard, milk and butter.
Whilst the potatoes were cooking, I boiled up the remaining broccoli and carrots from their packs and threw in some frozen peas. Once they were half cooked, I drained them, poured the leftover gravy over the top, a slosh (ok slightly more than a slosh) of wine, put in the remaining chicken, brought to the boil and then barely simmered.
For dinner I had “deconstructed” chicken pie as I don’t have an individual pie dish but as well as having dinner that night I had made enough to fill a small casserole dish. With my greedy nature it will serve two people but I think if you add more veggies then you could get away with feeding four people as a light lunch.
Move over Jamie Oliver, my mum and sister taught me the value of good food! To make 10 meals I spent £14.31! That’s a proper bargain!!