This is my last week using Save With Jamie and it’s a classic chicken roast. This section of his book is quite handy. It explains how to get the most out of a chicken. He has plenty of pictures showing how to divide it into joints – breasts, wings, legs and thighs. You can even use the remaining trimmings and carcass to make stock for soups or stews, if you have the time or inclination (I don’t).
He claims that it works out cheaper to buy a whole bird than pre-packed portions. I’m not entirely convinced by this. My butcher does two whole large chickens for £7.99 (which would give four breasts, wings, legs and thighs – so about 12-ish portions of meat), which is a great deal. But he also does ‘buy 10 thighs, get 10 free’, which is staggeringly good value. And I know most supermarkets do a ‘three for £10’ meat deal these days. I guess it all depends on what you are cooking and how you make those meals stretch.
So here is my meal plan for our final week:
SUNDAY – roast chicken, spuds, bread sauce, carrots, peas and gravy
MONDAY – chicken stew with mash
TUESDAY – chicken chowder and crackers
WEDNESDAY – homemade BBQ beans and baked sweet potatoes
THURSDAY – sausages, potato waffles and frozen veg (karate night freezer meal!)
FRIDAY – crab briks, brown rice and hoisin veggies
SATURDAY – payday takeaway!
My Month of Meat
We have had some truly scrumptious meals. The “mothership” roasts each Sunday were immense – beef, lamb, pork and chicken. Slow roasted and full of rich flavour. It really has been a treat. But it’s just SOOOOO much meat! Delicious as it all is, I did find myself most weeks with that post-Christmas feeling of gluttony. Craving something green just to lighten the load.
The veggie recipes in the book have been a highlight for me and have given me some fresh inspiration for our weekly meat-free dinners. We had squash fritters, hangover noodles, spicy squash and chickpea stew and homemade BBQ baked beans. I found myself really looking forward to them after eating the same meat for two or three days in a row.
Would I do this again? Not for a whole month. But I don’t think that Jamie Oliver really intends anyone to use the book in that way. I would perhaps buy one massive joint as part of my monthly order at the butcher’s and (as he suggests) freeze the leftovers in portions to spread throughout the rest of the month to avoid the monotony. It’s actually very handy having cooked, seasoned and flavoured meat ready to throw into a dish. It cuts down on the time I have to spend preparing and cooking raw meat.
Was it cheaper? No. I spent £75 at the butcher instead of my usual £50 or £60. Plus all the other fresh ingredients bought as part of my weekly food shop. There’s no denying that, love him or loathe him, Jamie Oliver makes thoroughly tasty food. But given that the core message of the book is that this way of cooking will save money, that’s a pretty fundamental flaw.