Category Archives: Poultry

Meat Fruit Loaf (Chicken Liver Parfait with Clementine Jelly)

Heston Blumental meets Jamie Oliver in a strictly practical, less indulgent but still exquisite take on the iconic Meat Fruit from Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental. No fiddly individual fruits here – just an ineffably smooth and deeply savoury chicken liver parfait, topped with a fresh clementine jelly rather than the traditional clarified butter.

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Slow Roast Turkey

Cost: Oh my. One of the cheapest meats per kilo – £4.60 for a 1.6kg thigh-and-drumstick at Morrisons. Substantially cheaper, and healthier, than red meat and easier I think to carve than chicken. Per portion – this made two helpings for a main meal (with a starch and vegetables), two pies which fed two couples for 2 meals each, and I reserved a small portion of the meat to brown in a frying pan and top the turkey soup made with the bones and served with noodles and pak choi (leftover soup became the base for a stew with butter beans and bacon…you get the idea). So average cost per meal per person would have been something like 60p for the meat, plus pennies for vegetables, pastry ingredients, noodles and so on.

It’s March, and therefore the season for turkey! By which I mean, it is not Christmas or pre-Christmas, when turkey is expensive and often out of stock at the local supermarket(s). Until this winter, I’d only ever experienced turkey in the context of institutional Christmas dinner – it’s not a feature of our festivities at home (goose and beef…I’m not sure whether to be proud or embarrassed that the “and” is not an “or”). My impression of turkey was that it was dry, pallid and (ironically) joyless, more fuel than food, for exercise-lovers rather than food-lovers. My best friend had the same idea…but after tasting this she exclaimed, “I didn’t realise turkey could be this tasty! You made turkey taste like…chicken!” I’d be lying if I claimed that had been the plan all along.

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Roast Duck stuffed with mashed potato

Cost: £9 for duck, £3 for vegetables and about £0.50 worth of butter, cream and milk. Served 4 but I think really should have been a meal for 6-8!

For the last six months or so, since my siblings have been working in London, the four of us (brother, sister, husband and I) have become more than family – we are an impromptu dining club, taking turns to treat each other to world-class steak at Hawksmoor, neighbourhood meat artistry at Smokehouse, lobster and steak at the top of Heron Tower, tonkotsu ramen at Bone Daddies on an almost-monthly basis. But having lost my job over Christmas, we at the Low Ceilinged Kitchen household are on a pretty tight budget (expect many more low-cost recipes!) and so I thought we would have to sadly withdraw from Dining Club….unless my siblings were happy for us to taken our turn with dinners at home?

Last night they came over after work for Dining At Home Club – just as we lit the fireplace and a chubby loaf of sourdough emerged from the oven. We caught up on the weekend’s episode of The Voice over mojitos, rhubarb gin and tonics and the following menu:

Sourdough with salted butter and a tin of foie gras (a gift from a friend)
Slow roast duck stuffed with mashed potato, purple sprouting broccoli and frazzled leeks
Chocolate fondants with frozen berries and sour cream

The duck recipe is a word-of-mouth method from a chef called Johnny working for Theo Randall at the Intercontinental, who put on an amazing roast duck and pork lunch at a pop up before Christmas. He was kind enough to tell me his method, which is what mine was based on, although his duck was unstuffed and garlanded with fluffier, golden fat, unlike the glazed crisp carapace of mine. This duck yielded surprisingly little fat, with no layer of squidgy stuff in between the shattering skin and melting meat; I poured off the juices from the pan into a small jug and the top layer of fat (stored in a jar for roasting future potatoes) only measured a few tablepoons. The idea of stuffing with mashed potato is from a Simon Hopkinson recipe, but the method is different.
Duck, exterior
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Chicken Noodle Soup Bowl

or, Roast Chicken: The Threequel

So, the roast chicken has been picked clean, and the leftover meat has been made into a pie, along with a few ladlefuls of stock. One last hurrah – a bowl of chicken soup, springy egg noodles, a confetti of fresh vegetables and a still-soft-but-not-liquid yolked poached egg. Astonishing that the bones and vegetable peelings still have enough flavour to make a robust and warming dinner – this is comfort food, but pretty healthy and almost fat free. It costs almost nothing and is a very quick meal – about 10 minutes to prepare.

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Chicken Pie

The sequel to the roast chicken meal, this is my first choice for comfort food. It can be made ahead, and even frozen, using leftovers – we always eat it at least once in the Lake District after a long day hiking because it’s great to be able to just throw in the oven, and in the time it takes to get out of all the rain soaked layers/ muddy boots and do a round of hot drinks, the pie is ready; puffed up and piping hot, just the thing to warm you up from the inside. Also, the Penrith chickens for sale at the local butcher are fantastic, princes amongst birds.
For similar reasons I’ve found it’s a useful meal to make to give to people, either for freezing or immediate eating. It also works well for families and children – I made it into hand pies once, using a slightly less liquid filling and shop bought pastry, and then used pastry trimmings to form their names on the pies. Shameless pandering.


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Roast Chicken and other spinoffs

Joyfully, two of our close friends recently had a lovely baby – and on these occasions, our church family like to provide the new family with a month of home-cooked meals. My favourite thing to make is a chicken pot pie, with roast chicken and lots of veg in a stock-enriched sauce and topped with flaky pastry. The night before we hand over the pie, we’ll have roast chicken for dinner – and for a few nights after we’ll have clear golden chicken soup (the sort that jellifies in the fridge in between meals), with noodles, chicken shreds and slices of pak choi and topped with croutons, spring onions, and chopped coriander and spring onions.

Recipe: Roast Chicken with Potatoes (and Chicken Soup)

This poaching-roasting idea is from the Guardian – not only does poaching provide a base for the stock, it helps guard against the chicken drying out, whilst the dried, butter basted skin crisps up beautifully.

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