The Cottage Smallholder

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In the bag roast chicken recipe

Chicken in roasting bagMy 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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  1. I use Roasting Bags for all meat and fish. Shorter cooking times, succulent meat ………….and a clean oven!!

  2. Rashida moiz

    ive had a box of roasting bags lying in my drawer for ages!just didnt have the guts to use them!now i definitly will….thankyou

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Ryan

    I’ve just visited your blog!

    Great that the roasting bag worked well for you.

  4. I am just about to give a roast chicken in a bag a try! I hope it works out well, first time.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Clare

    Your meal sounds wonderful!

    Do start a blog it’s fun and a great way of keeping your recipes to hand.

  6. Dinner was a triumph! I found I could fit all six partridges inside one roasting bag so that they didn’t get lonely, and they were so succulent and delicious and we had nearly a pint of delicious juice. A thorough success! The spiced pickled pears went well with it, but were too pretty (and big!) to be stuffing, so I made a gingered saffron pearl barley stuffing (with currants and juniper berries) which was lush.

    I sat the roasted partridges on a little cushion of nutmeggy bread sauce, propped the pear up at the side and drizzled a little of the reduced poaching glaze over. I was very proud of myself and will hopefully get around to writing about it on my own little blog one day (I took photos).

    I bought two packs of roasting bags so am looking forwards to trying them out on other projects…

  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Clare,

    I found rosting bags in Waitrose in a small flat box.

  8. Thanks for that, Fiona.

    I know it’s slightly kitschy to serve partridges with pears, but I’m hopeful it will work! I hadn’t thought of actually stuffing them, but that’s a great idea. I’ll let you know how it went after Christmas!

    Now I need to track down the roasting bags. I’ve never seen them in the supermarkets here, but I should be able to track them down somewhere.

  9. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Clare,

    Roasting bags and game go together well as the boags keep the moisture in and the skin of the bird browns.

    Love the idea of stuffing them with spiced poached pears. Game can be dry if open roasted.

    We have roasted partridge in the bag, stuffed with cooking apples and with a good dollop of jelly and splosh of wine. They worked well. We also have a good recipe for pot roast partridge here

  10. Hello again,

    I’m now hooked on your website following the lovely discourse on all things quincey.

    Just wondered if you’d tried roasting partridges in these bags yet? I’m working on a roast partridge with spiced poached pears recipe for a christmas dinner I’m doing, and wondered about your roasting bags.

    I love the idea of the idiot-proof production of gravy, and the browned skin. I’ve not roasted partridges before and am a bit concerned they might be dry.

    Any tips would be welcomed! Thanks!

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