Friday, 12 November 2010
When my family were growing up we often had a chicken as a mid-week roast. It fed the 6 of us and provided enough leftovers for my husband's lunchtime sandwich. In those days I would buy the cheapest intensively-reared birds I could get. Costco used to sell two for a fiver I seem to recall and I thought it was a lot of nonsense that a free range bird could possibly taste any different,
How times have changed. The various campaigns mounted by the TV chefs have all had their impact but the thing that swung it for me was the day I cooked a cheap chicken in my slow-cooker. I had been assured by friends that all I needed to do was stick the bird in, put the lid on and leave all day on low. Well yes. It was moist and it was tender. But oh gosh. The juices it had given off tasted terrible. Chemical and unnatural. From that day on I have only bought free range birds.
Waitrose sell Leckford chickens and I buy one whenever they are reduced to clear or on special offer. Roast chicken is now a real treat in the Lark household. Last Wednesday I picked up a 2kg RTC one for just over £8. It did a fab roast for 4, a chicken risotto for 2 and the chicken and mushroom pie pictured. The pie also served 4 and my daughter took what was left to school the next day for lunch for herself and 2 colleagues. And in the slow cooker the next day I made 2 litres of stock from the carcass. Not bad value was it?