Well now, there's a thing. What actually IS my favourite food?
Blue particularly seems to be troubled by my inability to answer this question - or to give him a the same answer when he asks me again...
You see my favourite thing to eat depends on so many things: the weather, the time of day, who I'm with, where I am. My favourite thing to eat in Venice on a bright March afternoon is fritto misto washed down with a glass or two of chilled prosecco. My favourite thing to eat immediately after a long walk along the North Pembrokeshire coastal path is a toasted teacake with lots of Welsh butter, washed down with a cup of builders' tea (and then some Lamb Saag Balti). My favourite thing to eat after a day body boarding in North Devon is curry. You get where I'm coming from...
The other week, Sunday afternoon, the end of a busy weekend and a late night on the Saturday, my favourite thing to eat was this pot roast chicken. It's a recipe my mum passed on to me in typically vague form, but the combination of the juicy free-range chicken, lemon-scented sausage-meat stuffing, smoky bacon, meltingly soft caramelised onions, the potatoes luxurious, essentially 'confit'-style, cooked in the fat of the chicken - it's just got comfort written all over it. It's definitely not a meal for the calorie counters amongst you, but I make no apology for that. This dish is all about comfort food. And if you were wondering about what could possibly follow this pudding-wise, I recommend some butterscotch apple pudding. With cream. Waistlines are for wimps...
Pot Roast Chicken
Feeds around 6 (although if you feed 4 with it and have some bacon & potatoes left over, it makes great soup if you chuck in a leek or 2 and some chicken stock...)
1.5kg free range chicken
freshly ground salt & pepper
100-120g sausagemeat (or around 4 decent size, good quality sausages)1.5 tbsp breadcrumbs
small bunch of thyme stalks, leaves only
grated rind of a lemon
50g unsalted butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
200g bacon lardons/pancetta
1kg waxy potatoes
large bunch of parsley
Season the chicken and set aside.
Mix together the sausagemeat, breadcrumbs, thyme leaves and lemon rind, stuff into the chicken and pull down the neck skin over the opening of the cavity.
Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
Melt the butter and oil together in a large casserole with a tight fitting lid.
Brown the chicken all over in the hot fat then reduce the heat under the casserole to low.
Peel the shallots and place in a small pan with the bacon. Cover with water, bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and drain.
Add the shallots and bacon to the casserole with the chicken, cover the casserole with the lid and cook gently for 15 minutes.
While the chicken, shallots and bacon is cooking, dice the potatoes. Once the initial 15 minutes cooking time is up, add the potatoes to the casserole and turn in the fat. Pop the lid back on the casserole and put the whole thing in the oven for around an hour till the chicken is cooked.
Chop up the parsley. Remove the chicken from the casserole dish, toss the parsely into the potatoes, shallots and bacon, then serve.
And don't forget the butterscotch apple pudding.