Yesterday I made a much-improved version of my chicken in cider recipe. Regular followers of whatinterests.davidstrange.net will have seen some blurry pictures of it cooking and on my plate.
So the first improvements come in the ingredients. You need double the amount of mushrooms and bacon (ie. 500g of each). When I said ‘characterful mushrooms’ I really meant it, OK? Closed-cup boring shite mushrooms are not good enough, we want flavour! The cider has to be dry but also of a serious, flavoursome nature. Quality ingredients lead to quality food.
The next part is the really cunning bit: leaving it to rest. After your leisurely breakfast it’ll be time to start cooking this so it will be ready for a seven o’clock dinner. Follow the instructions I gave in the recipe until you reach the simmering part, you’ll only want to simmer it for an hour before turning the heat off entirely. Stick a lid on the stew pot and leave it to cool down whilst you go and have lunch. Then at quarter past six in the evening bring it gently back to the boil before turning the heat to the lowest setting (so the surface of the stew just quivers) until you serve it at seven o’clock.
This period of cooling and resting intensifies the flavours and makes them more complex. If I make an even more baroque version of this I’ll make it the night before we eat it so it can rest for longer. I’ll also stick a pig’s trotter (with the skin scored with a knife) in it for the initial simmering and resting. Some bits of chicken carcass would also add to it during this stage of the cooking, I feel.
Certainly, this is a good thing to make and a better thing to eat. Just don’t forget you need quality ingredients. If you cannot manage that I suppose you don’t get that much out of this site.