The Stiking Rose from San Diego
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Diary and Notes
What's going on here? No ingredients no preparation? And what's all this brown rice and salad, we had vegetables Thursday and you promised us meat (or at least stories of meat) and bloody big haunches too! Sorry folks but today is a review of a dinner cooked for me by my new friend Carrie (she's American but we can't all be perfect) and as such I don't feel it my duty to give details as to how it was done etc... I will however try to explain in vivid detail what it was like and perhaps try to recreate it later in the year (as per the rules, go on check them).
Firstly let me say I've heard of 40 clove chicken before. It's one of those dishes that turn up in the food section of the Observer (Nigel Slater mincing around again) or in the Times T2 with that irritating (and I always imagine - very large hipped) Jill Duplex wittering on about her children running around their gite just outside Piedmont while she infuses the breast with a succulent blend of ... oh sod off, we don't care. However it's something I have never cooked. The cloves in question are not those little black spicy things, but garlic cloves and plenty of them. The chicken is roasted with a mound of garlic, some herbs and seasonings. The garlic cloves are cooked in their skin and then smeared onto bread as a paste to be eaten with the meal (a bit like aioli).
It was good. The chicken was well cooked and certainly well seasoned. However it didn't taste of garlic (the garlic bloody well did). Perhaps the garlic smell was so strong that any flavour in the chicken just wasn't detectable, but it tasted like (a very well prepared) roast chicken. I liked the garlic on bread but six or seven cloves was my fill. Brown rice..? I will say little more. And sprouts. Yes, they were perfectly done, still firm and vivid green but I am not a sprout eater (apart from the occasional sprout bhaji that I stew up with a curry) and as such that will be all the sprout stories for at least a year. It was a good meal and I recommend you have a go. A bit of thyme and lemon is probably good. Keep the lid on a casserole dish with the chicken in until nearly done and then take the lid off to brown. Plus this way you'll get loads of lovely stock to use tomorrow (which I will).
One thing though, as an Englishman I like some sauce with my roast chicken. I suggest if you do make this dish, serve some gravy made from a thickened reduction of the chicken juice alongside. Something sharp in the gravy would be excellent, perhaps a cranberry or two in honour of the American who cooked me this tasty dinner.
The white wine I had with it was bought and chosen by me. I'm trying to sample the local wines and think an award is deserved just for this. I don't remember what it was called, so don't ask.
Forty clove chicken,
Sprouts in butter,
Salad of lettuce, cucumber and almonds,
German dry white wine.