Sunday, June 13, 2010

Nowhere near as good as Mum's

I bought a frozen chicken last weekend with the intention of trying out chicken creole (p136). I then spent the entire week forgetting to take it out of the freezer, so it was weekend again before I actually had the chance to make it.

Other ingredients required were a green pepper, purchased on Wednesday night when I made the impromptu trip to the supermarket for dates; a ham steak, which are available individually at my usual Pak N Save, but not at Pak N Save Riccarton where I went to buy one - I  ended up with a small packet of 'ham pieces' instead; and 50g salami, for which I substituted a bierstick, so I could chop it in chunks rather than using the paper-thin slices of deli salami.

You're supposed to place the chicken in "a large ovenproof dish" and then add all the other ingredients. I really didn't have an appropriate dish of a size and depth to fit a chicken. In the end I settled for a rather shallow dish and used tinfoil to cover it over.

Since there wasn't much room in the dish, I mixed up the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl: chopped onion, a can of tomatoes, tomato paste, the ham pieces and the chopped pepper. I then spooned this on and around the chicken. It was a tight fit in the dish I'd chosen - I even considered moving the whole thing into my large roasting dish, but decided to go ahead with it as was.

After 1 1/2 hours in the oven, I pulled out the chicken again, which seemed to have cooked through. I had to take the chicken out onto a separate plate in order to stir through the final ingredients: the chopped bierstick and a bit of dried basil.

Then I turned my attention to the chicken. I was quite hungry, so I chopped off a drumstick, added a few spoonfuls of the casserole mixture, and sat down to eat. It was a bit disappointing, really. The onions and peppers weren't cooked through, possibly as a result of being packed so tightly into the dish, and the ham and 'salami' did not add as much flavour as I'd expected.

I really don't like eating bone-in chicken in a casserole. It's true that bones give the meat a better flavour, but it's tricky to eat with a knife and fork, and too messy to eat with your fingers. So I carved up the chicken, divesting it of as much flesh as possible, and mixed the chicken pieces into the rest of the casserole.

After a night in the fridge, the flavours of the chicken creole have improved a bit. Without the bones to contend with, and with the onion a bit more cooked from reheating in the microwave, it's actually quite a pleasant meal. The thing is, it's ended up as nothing more than a variation on a standard chicken casserole - and I'd choose Mum's chicken casserole over this one any day of the week!


  1. Sounds fancier than mum's to me.c

  2. Nah the ham and salami etc doesn't taste as good as it sounds. It's ok, but yours is better!


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