Chicken Surprise

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The rain lashed against glass and wind scurried round the olive trees trying to blow them down.  Now I don’t like to complain because I know it’s been tougher in England, I’m aware that people round the world have spent the year running away from hurricanes and tornadoes, but as the rain came pouring in under the windows I wished we’d got a move on with the double glazing.

Shouldn't complain, it could be worse.  UK Dec 2013

Shouldn’t complain, it could be worse. UK Dec 2013

We were supposed to be wrapping presents and making a jolly scene for Christmas morning not mopping the floor.  I grabbed a cloth and shrieked.  There was a spider on the window pain.  I knocked it off and the window pane fell out too.  A strong wind blew straight in to the bedroom. Zed discovered his emergency DIY skills and managed to nail the wood back into the soft wet frame while Dean Martin sang his heart out and wished us a ‘merry little Christmas’ in the background.

Dean martin

Christmas morning was fortunately the jolly scene we’d planned.  I wore bIue velvet wellies.  We were having chicken instead of traditional turkey.  The chicken looked slightly thin though and….sort of huddled up like a new born baby on its back. A wave of emotion swept over me for the poor thing.  Also, there really was something strange and skinny about it.  Still I thought, it was a Portuguese chicken and maybe it wasn’t pumped up with chemicals like the regular British ones.  Jae clattered around the kitchen behind me in his new roller blades as I arranged it in the dish.

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The new roller blades

In England we’re used to having a choice of the cheap and sad chickens that have been stuffed together in a barn with barely room to move and costing a couple of quid, organic ones or the organic and ‘happy lifers who get to roam all over the place’ chickens.  On top of this is the locally reared option plus a few choices in between.  In Portugal, in my experience, you just go and get a chicken. No history attached. No back story.  Still, the one in front of me looked strange in its little dish.  I shut the lid on the oven.  At least it didn’t still have its head on, a mistake I made only once.  I’m not good at decapitation.

The roast came out cooked to perfection and Christmas dinner was well appreciated even without Christmas crackers.  Everyone wanted seconds.  Zed commented on the lack of meat as he tried to carve more for the eager faces round the table.  Finally he shuffled the chicken round and muttered  “did you mean to cook it upside down?”

“Upside down, but….”  Ah, so that’s why it looked so strange.

Dean M.

Dean M.

Maybe this could be a whole new dish for thrifty meals.  Cook the chicken upside down and the next day you can use it for another roast with the breast still intact.  Chicken surprise!

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