Tag Archives: roast

Chicken and pork, a chiporken?

A couple of years ago I cooked a turducken for Christmas. This year, for something a little different, I decided to try a chiporken. I bought a large and a small chicken and boned them both leaving the wings and legs on the large bird. I made a stuffing based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe, from diced leg pork, bread crumbs, sage, nutmeg, salt and pepper and 3 rashers of smokey bacon. I ran this through a blender, and then stuffed the small chicken.

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Next I wrapped this in my favourite smokey bacon,

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then put it in the large chicken,

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and sewed it up.

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As is usually the case, Christmas day was hot, hot, hot in Queensland, so I cooked this in our kettle BBQ, which isn’t ideal, but at least it’s outside. It’s hard to get an accurate and consistent temperature in the BBQ, and I usually have trouble judging cooking times. So I cooked the chiporken for a little over 3 hours, at some largely unknown and varying temperature, until a meat thermometer told me it was 175°C in the middle. As it turns out, that meant it was somewhat overcooked on the bottom, a regular feature of roasts done in my BBQ (maybe it’s me?),  but it sure looked good from the top!

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It wasn’t as tasty as the turducken, but was pretty good, certainly an improvement on plain chicken. And if I do it again, well definitely at least twice as much bacon wrapped around the inside bird.

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Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad

I recently purchased the book ‘Nose To Tail Eating’ by Fergus Henderson and I’m amazed by many of the recipes in it. Seeing Fergus on TV a couple of times has been one of my inspirations to eat more unusual foods, so I’m sure  recipes from this book will appear here from time to time, starting now. This bone marrow recipe is mentioned in the introduction by Anthony Bourdain as his Death Row Meal, and by a strange twist of fate, the day after reading the recipe, I was in a supermarket and for the first time, spotted bags of beef marrow bones.

It was meant to be! Now to me, bone marrow is one of the highlights in dishes such as osso bucco, so I knew I was going to like this.

As per the recipe, I roasted the marrow bones until the marrow was ‘loose and giving, not melted away’. I did this in a kettle BBQ and it took almost an hour. While that was roasting, I coursely chopped a handful of flat (Italian) parsley leaves (no stems) and finely sliced a small onion (recipe called for shallots but I couldn’t get any on the day). I then added some small capers and when the marrow was cooked, dressed the salad with lime juice (recipe says lemon, but I have a lime tree) and extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and pepper. I removed the marrow from the bones onto toast and added the salad.

I probably used more than the called for ‘pinch’ of parsley salad, and when cooked I had less bone marrow than expected. Add my lack of cooking skills, and I’m sure my effort was not even close to as good as what Fergus serves at his St. John restaurant…..but bloody hell it was good!

It was one of those recipes that is so well balanced that not one single taste stands out. Just an overall delicious flavour with the slight fatiness of the bone marrow. If all the recipes in this book are this good, I’m in for a real treat as I attempt to work my way through it. Thanks Fergus.

Mixed Roast. Pork, lamb and beef.

The Christmas turducken was a success and I particularly enjoyed the mixing of flavours from the turkey, duck, chicken and quail. It got me thinking, why not try it with other meats, so that was this weekend’s project, a boneless, rolled, stuffed roast of  pork, lamb and beef. During the week I bought a small leg of lamb and some pork belly. I removed the bones from the pork belly and layed it out skin side down.

The boned pork belly

 I then boned and skinned the leg of lamb and layed it on top with a little stuffing between the layers.

and with stuffing and lamb added

 At this stage I was obviously running out of room, so I limited the beef to a couple of small steaks, added some bacon and more stuffing, and it was ready to roll.

Ready to roll

This pork belly was the only one the butcher had, and was smaller than I wanted, so rolling the roast was a problem, and the pork didn’t quite go right around, but still looked good once I tied it up.

I then sliced the pork skin, rubbed it with macadamia oil and salt, then sprinkled carroway seeds over it, and it was ready for the oven.

And after about four hours at  180°c the roast was ready and looking good.

And to eat? The flavour combinations of these meats was amazing, so much better than each on their own. The meat was moist and tender and the pork crackling crispy and full of flavour. And of course, with no bones, this roast is a pleasure to carve and serve.

An all round beautiful roast that I highly recommend and will most definately do again. And a lot less preparation than a turducken.

Turducken

I have not done a lot of cooking over the years ( probably only roasted two chickens in my life!), so my plan to make turducken this Christmas was perhaps a little ambitious. In my usual way, I threw myself enthusiastically into the project, ordered the birds, read up about the process and sharpened my knives. I practised boning a couple of chickens a week ago and the second one was good enough, so I kept it in the freezer for the big day. Christmas eve and the serious boning began. I started with  the duck as it’s appearance isn’t as important as the turkey.  One badly sliced thumb later (yes, that knife is sharp) the duck was done and it was turkey time. The turkey, being larger, was probably easier than the chicken or duck, and went quite well. I then decided to put a couple of quail inside the chicken, and the quail were quite fiddly to bone because of their size. Finally, after a couple of hours it was all done and the carcases were frozen to use for making stock later. The butcher I bought the turkey and duck off had offered to do the boning for me but I wanted to do the whole thing. Several times during the evening I regretted that decision. As you can see, my turkey didn’t look elegant, but it was boneless and all in one piece.

I thought it would take about 5-6 hours to cook this masterpiece, so I was up at 4am Christmas morning to complete the prep. and get it in the oven. As I had never made stuffing before, I used it from a packet (sorry, I’ll do better next time). So, I layed out the turkey, spread a layer of stuffing, put the duck on, added more stuffing, then the chicken, stuffing and finally the two quail to end up with this great ugly pile of meat.

The next part of the process was probably the most difficult, particularly on my own. I had to roll the beast up and sew the turkey back together. Using skewers to initially hold it in place, I finally managed to get it sewn together, but when I turned it over, there were a couple of places where the skin had split, and these required a few stitches as well. I also ran string around the bird  to help it hold it’s shape (no skeleton to do that, remember).

So it looked a bit rough and unprofessional, but not bad for a first effort, I thought.

Christmas day in Queensland is notoriously hot, not the day you want the oven on for 5 hours, so the bird (birds) were put into the kettle BBQ on the verandah, and cooking began at 5-15am, and I enjoyed a glass of apple cider. I needed to slow cook this, but the BBQ wouldn’t go below about 180°c. Finally after about 5 hours the meat thermometer showed an internal temperature of 165°c so the turkey was taken out and rested. On the outside it looked good! (but I wish I’d removed the strings and stitches before taking the photo- live and learn)

So after 45 mins resting (the turkey, not me, I had potatoes to cook), it was crunch time, and I very nervously cut into my masterpiece:

 Cooked to perfection! And to eat, this is awesome. The flavour combinations of the different birds are great together, the turkey was very moist, probably from the duck, and even the packet stuffing tasted good. Would I do it all again, yes, but not for a while. And what would I do differently? The quail were pretty much lost in the mix, I’d either leave them out or put a few more in. And I’d use less stuffing and not from a packet (I’ll have to find a couple of good   stuffing recipes).  And maybe a bigger turkey so fitting it all together was easier (this was only a 4kg bird). All up, the cooked product weighed in at just under 8 kgs, so I’ll be enjoying this for a few days yet.