My friend Carol keeps on mentioning how good game cooked in a bag is. I vaguely remember people using roasting bags in the eighties. Everybody was using them for a few months and suddenly they just fizzled out. Actually, I hate to admit it but I thought the attraction was that using roasting bag was to stop your oven getting so dirty. Until last weekend, I had no idea of their magical effect on food.
Carol's advice is sound. Everything that she recommends is good, from tiny tomato sandwiches on a hot summer's day to her own herb baked croutons. We just had to give the roasting bags a whirl. When I located a pack in the supermarket it was modestly packed in a small cardboard envelope. Easily seduced by packaging, I was rather disappointed and amazed to see that it contained eight bags.
We buy excellent free range chicken from Fred Fitzpatrick's and Danny has developed several stunning roast chicken dishes. The preparation ritual is great to watch and nearly as good as the meal itself. He stuffs the bird with apples, onions or lemons and lovingly anoints the bird with various unguents before cooking it in enormous turkey foil parcels. It is clear that this is the key meal of his week. If things go wrong, self flagellation is considered.
So I was amazed to witness his cavalier attitude last Sunday. Admittedly he pressed for time but he gave the roasting bag an Iron Man test. He dusted the inside of a bag with flour, salt and pepper, threw the naked chicken in the bag, gave it all a good shake and shoved it in the oven on a baking tray. A bit of a tough test for the bag, I secretly thought. The chicken hadn't even glimpsed the lemon zester.
An hour or so later we took a peek. The chicken was browning nicely inside the bag. We were amazed. There were happy chirrups when it was on the carving board as he carved and sampled the tiny fowl.
The chicken tasted as wonderful as it looked. Far more succulent than a foil based roast. It had also made its own gravy base which unfortunately was polished off by Inca who hopped on the table and lapped it up when we were oohing and aahing over the chicken.
Carol is right. Roasting bags are a great idea. She uses them to roast pheasant and partridge -these have a tendency to be very dry when open roasted. So we'll be trying our melt in the mouth partridge recipe in a bag this weekend. Watch this space for our review.
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