Well, OK, it’s not really a rooster, it’s really Ramsay’s Roast Chicken but that would ruin my alliteration.
These days we perform the same transformation on the classic French dish, Coq au Vin. As those remaining few of my fellow countrymen not averse to Europeans probably know, the French word for chicken is poulet; coq refers to a [male] cock and one of more advanced age at that. Hence the traditional Coq au Vin recipe gently simmering for 2½ hours or so. [Cockerel, I’ve now discovered, is jeune coq.] These days we actually cook what should be called Poulet au Vin and for half the amount of time to avoid completely destroying the more delicate poulet. But I digress.
In addition to loving chicken, I am a big fan both of chorizo sausage and of cannellini beans, which are the prince of pulses [gosh, more alliteration] IMO. So, when I spotted a recipe that stuffs a chicken with this combination I wanted to try it for a bit of midweek entertainment. Thus, back to paraphrasing Ramsay’s Roast Chicken.
- Fry off 100g of skinned chorizo cubes.
- Chuck in a diced onion and two chopped garlic cloves until softened.
- Whack in some thyme leaves with a tin of cannellini beans [sans tin, obviously 😀 – Gordon actually used two tins but he had a BIG chicken] and warm them through …
- … before adding 100g garlicky and herby Unearthed slow-roasted tomatoes [again, Gordon used 200g of semi-dried/sun-blushed tomatoes but see previous comment concerning the size of his coq].
- Stuff as much of this mixture as will fit into the seasoned cavity of your chicken …
- … before performing the final indignity of ramming a whole lemon up its arse to hold everything in place. [Some string around the legs and parson’s nose may help secure the now distended package.]
- Sit the hapless chicken in a roasting tray with 200ml white wine, 100ml water and several sprigs of thyme. [Drink the remaining wine.]
- In an attempt to make up for the lemon indignity, oil the chicken and lovingly massage 1tsp paprika into its breasts, apologizing for the lemon as you go, before adding the essential pepper and salt.
- Cover the roasting tray with foil, sealed as well as possible, and steam the lot in a 180°C/gas 4 oven for an hour.
- Remove the foil, increase the temperature to 200°C/gas 6 and brown the chicken off for 25 mins [that’s assuming the poor chicken isn’t thoroughly browned-off already, having been sexually assaulted with a whole lemon and paprika rub].
- Remove the lemon and allow the now relieved chicken to rest while you make the sauce.
- Gordon squeezed the lemon juice into the cooking liquid but having tasted it I decided it already tasted a little lemony and needed no more. So, with or without the added lemon juice, reduce the sauce to your liking together with some judicious seasoning.
- Scoop out the chorizo and cannellini bean stuffing and serve it with as much of your chicken as seems desirable together, of course, with a second bottle of wine.
The observant will have noticed a few Franco modifications already [the unadulterated recipe is linked above] but now we come to a Franco variation that I’m certain would not have been anticipated by the eminent Mr. Ramsay.
- Carve all the remaining yummy bits off the chicken setting these aside for a subsequent human feast.
- Given the chorizo and paprika flavours, making stock out of your carcass isn’t a terribly good idea so instead, pop it out into your garden, uncovered, at 0°C/gas 0 within sight of your trailcam.
- Hit the sack to sleep off the wine.
- In the morning, peer bleary-eyed outside to make sure the chicken has provided a feast for some wildlife.
- Assuming all is well, retrieve your trailcam and review the captured footage.
I wasn’t sure how these adventurous flavourings might be received by our wildlife but, sure enough at 01:20 our [fox formerly known as] Limpy entered stage right and began sniffing around the grass. I’m a little intrigued by the behaviour: our diners don’t seem to make straight for the bait but appear to locate it by smell rather than by sight, eventually homing in on it. Curious.
Once located, Limpy set about chewing bits off the remains of Ramsay’s Roast Chicken and was certainly not put off by any taint of lemon and paprika. I had been expecting the guests to do a runner with the whole carcass and without paying but Limpy continued to dine in situ. So, in a cross-section of one, this recipe gets a big thumbs up from our fox community.
On this occasion Limpy didn’t leave a tip.