DCI Gene Hunt this one's for you!
I couldn't help but attempt my best Gene Hunt impression yesterday as I was preparing dinner. Not the most attractive accent or person in the world...but...I couldn't help myself.
Before Christmas Marks & Spencers ran a series of commercials themed "Christmas isn't Christmas without"...and a slection of celebrities said what they love about Christmas: dinner with family, warm sweaters etc....and then Phil Glenister says...in his Gene Hunt manner:
a big juicy bird
And a BIG JUICY BIRD is what we dined on last night! Because of the commercial and my pure love of Gene Hunt I couldn't help but saying things like "You're nicked Sunshine" to the poor bird or telling it to "Get Stuffed"....hmmmm stuffing what a great idea!
I know I said that David and I are making a conscious effort to be aware of what we eat and eat less meat and so perhaps it might seem a bit weird that I decided to make a BIG JUICY STUFFED BIRD last night. I am happy to say that I "picked the bird up" when it was on sale a week or so ago (free-range east anglia chicken, but not organic) and popped her in the freezer until a night just like last night!
Due to the baking ban I thought that I would try a couple of new things last night to keep my mind off the sad sad sadness of not baking. So I thought...HEY! I have never stuffed a bird...let's give it a go!!
In my few cookbooks here at the house there were a number of different suggestions for stuffing a bird, but the most imporant difference seemed to be stuffing the neck (to reduce the risk of salmonella poisoning) vs. stuffing the cavity (living on the edge).
Well...I live on the edge! Plus, I am a self-confessed Stuffing-aholic...there is no way that stuffing JUST the neck would produce nearly enough stuffing for me...let alone to SHARE with David! Seriously...I would be perfectly happy if Christmas dinner consisted purely of stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy...with the odd bit of potato. Personal opinion! But...saying that...I am not a stuffing snob. I am just happy with any stuffing, it makes a bird just that little bit more special.
Surprisingly, stuffing is actually really easy! Who knew? If it is so easy why aren't birds always stuffed???
The bird was on the petite side so I only used 1-1/2 pieces of bread (the bum pieces) from a nice wholemeal seeded loaf, which I cut up into cubes and then ended up ripping up about half of the cubes. In a frying pan I melted about 2 TBSP of butter and softened about 1/2 a white onion, chopped, 1 rib of celery chopped, 1/2 an apple, peeled and chopped, some fresh rosemary and abuot 1 tsp of mixed dried herbs. When that was all softened I added it to the breadcrumbs and mixed together then got ready to STUFF!
Stuffed and roasted for about 1 hour and 45 mins (she was 1.5 kg pre-stuffing). I used some rosemary sprigs to seal the cavity (can't have her just lying there exposed can we?)...and basted as much as I could...
Yum yum yum! You might notice...no veggies....oopsie! to be honest...in reality all I wanted was the potatoes, stuffing and gravy....the bird was only a vessel through which scrumptious (and not too wet) stuffing, tasty gravy and gorgeous roasties were produced! Chicken? huh?
Oh...and to round the night off......after David left me for football I settled in and attempted another FIRST for me.....CHICKEN STOCK! It seems to have gone alright...
Lunch was good today!