As I was bereft at not being able to buy iceberg lettuce in bulk I consoled myself by making slow-cooked chicken and celeriac with lemon last weekend. The recipe is based on one by Ottolenghi – see here.
First get your chicken – we had the spare Rhode Island Red Cockerel – things aren’t good for the long term round here if you are the spare.
By accident I came across two articles about chicken this week so there might be a bit of a rant below so feel free to skip down to the recipe – the recipe is really very very good and makes use of seasonal root vegetables (and lemons, but really a life without lemons is just a husk of a life).
I don’t want to tell you what to buy, but really, try not to buy chickens that have had their beaks mutilated and have been crammed into sheds with only the vague promise of free-ranging outside – free-range isn’t always actually free-range for every bird – and let’s not even mention the horrific conditions most chickens are kept in – barn-raised sounds so quaint but the reality is somewhat different.
OK, it appears that I do want to tell you what to buy – my bad …. I read a post on the food website the Kitchn (bit of a distraction from writing) during the week and saw this post 16 things to do with chicken when you’re bored and sick of chicken – apparently some people find ‘turning to chicken for dinner is more of an obligation that something they look eagerly forward to’ …. oh really?
I mean wtf?? How about stop eating chicken if you are bored with it – eat something without meat or with a different protein instead. Why would you consume an animal if you were not going to totally enjoy it? Why would you eat an animal that someone has had to kill, just to go “blurgh, I am so bored and sick of chicken” ?
I bet if you had to kill every chicken you ate you wouldn’t get “bored and sick of chicken”. The day I stop enjoying chicken will be the day I stop killing and eating them – duh duh duh – think it through people …
This did us for two meals – I use more celeriac than chicken because I want to guard against getting bored and sick of chicken …. less blood spilled if you suddenly go off celeriac!
Slow-cooked chicken and celeriac with lemon: 2 legs of a chicken; three small-ish celeriac (or one of the giant ones grown by people who are better at growing than I am!); big handful of shallots or onions; 3 lemons; 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1/4 tsp chilli flakes; 1.5 tsp of ground cumin; olive oil; 3 bay leaves; 2 garlic cloves;some thyme leaves; seasoning
Mix the fennel, chilli, cumin and some olive oil in a bowl and them smear all over the chicken. Brown the chicken in a large casserole dish in some more olive oil. remove fr the dish. Cut the celeriac into chip-sized wedges and brown in the same pan – remove. Then cook the shallots (cut in half or in wedges) with the chopped garlic, the thyme and bay and the peel of one of the lemons. Remove from the pan. Layer up the celeriac, half the onion mix, the chicken legs and top with the rest of the onions. Add in 100ml of water and the juice of two lemons. Cover and cook gently until you have finished doing what you have to do – at least 2 hours, maybe more. The chicken should fall off the bones.
Help it along, remove the bones and add the juice of one more lemon to the dish. I served it with couscous the first day and rice the second day.
It wasn’t boring and it didn’t make us sick!
N.B. there are far too many thoughtless, incompetent, ignorant and quite frankly rude people in my life – conveniently they are often to be found in one place …. avoid the place, avoid the people and if that isn’t a lesson for life, I am not sure what is.