Chinese-Malaysian born Perth food blogger, The Food Pornographer (TFP), posted an interesting article once about her first experience with a hot BBQ roast chicken and suggested various tasty ways to serve it. Reading TFP’s story brought back memories and inspired me to share my musings on the subject.
Chicken featured frequently on my Hungarian mother’s repertoire. It was reasonably inexpensive, so could feed our family of six and, being a very good cook, Mum had a special way of making the bird taste wonderful. We often ate a simple chicken soup, enjoying bowls of steaming hot broth with egg noodles and semolina dumplings. Mum served slices of chicken meat with the vegetables afterwards. Being the youngest, I had first choice at the sweet little giblets, much to the annoyance of my three older siblings. Together with the chicken soup (aptly named ‘Nanna Soup’ by my children), Mum’s chicken paprika with soft noodles (nokedli) is one of my comfort foods to this day. Furthermore, Mum’s crumbed chicken drumsticks were more succulent than any I’ve tasted in my entire life and her roast chicken with parsley and mushroom stuffing was divine.
My taste buds ventured into entirely new territory when I was in my early teens and my best friend’s mother introduced me to the Friday night takeaway. There was eggy fried rice with tiny prawns, beef hamburgers with the lot, and BBQ chicken with herbed stuffing and salty chips. BBQ takeaway chicken and chips stole my heart for a time.
Deep fried chips are definitely off the menu nowadays (ask my doctor) and I prefer home cooked roast chicken (recipes below), but I have to admit to the guilty pleasure of indulging in the occasional store-bought BBQ chook. Peter and I stand at the kitchen bench, peel open the foil bag and tear off the drumsticks and wings, greedily chomping the meat off the bones like hungry children.
CHICKEN CURRY WITH PINEAPPLE
I cut the remaining chicken meat into bite-sized pieces and use it to make curried tropical chicken, a dish that is a family favourite. The recipe featured in a 1970s Golden Circle advertisement torn from a magazine. It’s quick to prepare and tastes good. You need the meat from a cooked chicken, which you’ve cut into bite-sized pieces, a little bit of butter or oil, a 450g can of pineapple pieces (including the juice), a can of condensed cream of chicken soup, a cup of milk, one diced onion, one diced red capsicum, two teaspoons of curry powder and salt and pepper. Sauté the onion in the butter or oil until it’s soft, then add the milk, soup, curry powder and pineapple juice. Simmer briefly over a low heat. Then add the chicken pieces, pineapple pieces, red capsicum, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat through and serve with steamed rice. This quantity will serve 6-8.
THE PERFECT ROAST BIRD
1 large fresh roasting chicken (1.8kg Lilydale freerange or organic preferred)
2 teaspoons butter
spray olive oil
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
Sea salt and cracked pepper to season
First wash the chicken under cold water, drain well and pat it dry with paper towelling. Remove and discard the dry flaky skin near the knee joints and trim away any excess fat. Carefully place a teaspoon of butter under the skin on the breast area. Truss by tying the legs together and tuck the wings under the body of the bird. Lightly spray with olive oil and sprinkle the paprika all over the chicken, follow this with sea salt and black pepper. Place the chicken into a lined baking dish or onto a lined rack in a baking dish. Roast in a moderately hot 190 degrees C oven for about 11/2 hours until the chicken is nicely browned. (Allow 45 mins per kg). This recipe will feed 4-6.
MUM’S ROAST CHICKEN WITH PARSLEY AND MUSHROOM STUFFING
My mother's Sunday evening specialty — a deliciously crisp and well-browned roast chicken with a parsley, mushroom and onion stuffing. Yum!
1 large fresh roasting chicken (1.8kg)
Spray olive oil
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
vegetables for roasting
3 slices bread
¼ cup milk
2 egg yolks
½ tablespoon butter
1 small brown onion, very finely chopped
4 small button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh parsley, finely chopped
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
First wash the chicken under cold water, drain well and pat it dry with paper towelling. Remove and discard the dry flaky skin near the knee joints and trim away any excess fat. Prepare the stuffing. Moisten the bread with the milk and squeeze out any excess. Heat the butter in a small saucepan; add the onions and mushrooms and sauté till onion is just golden. Combine the bread, egg yolks, onion, mushrooms and parsley in a small bowl, mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff the chicken, placing a little stuffing in the cavity under the skin of the chicken breast. Secure with a small skewer or truss with string. Lightly spray with olive oil and sprinkle the paprika all over the chicken, follow this with sea salt and black pepper.
Place the chicken into a lined baking dish and surround it with chunks of your favourite roasting vegetables, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and carrots. Season vegetables with salt and pepper if desired, and drizzle chicken and vegetables with a little olive oil. Alternatively, roast the chicken on a lined rack over a small amount of water and bake the vegetables in another baking dish. Roast in a moderately hot 190 degrees C oven for about 11/2 hours until the chicken is nicely browned. (Allow 45 mins per kg). This recipe will feed 4-6.
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