Chicken A-La Can O’ Sprite!
Anyone remember my FishyDishyCookery cookery stunt? Well, I figured it was time I at least had a go at a follow up blog post. My friend Jane came up with this a while ago, and I thought, well why not! It’s suitably bizarre, and it just might work!
In a nutshell I cooked a roast chicken with a can of pop inserted into its cavity. Yes really! Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it. Did it explode in the oven? Did Horace try to commit me to the funny farm or complain about not ‘having normal teas anymore’? Read on and find out….
Here’s the main ingredients list. Please ignore the olive oil and the peppercorn grinder, I didn’t use either in the end – my Photoshop skills are none-existant so I couldn’t edit it out afterwards.
The ingredients list is easy peasy: Whole free range chicken, Harissa Spice Mix, Empty can of Coca Cola, Sprite (If you can find a can of Sprite that’s even better!) and Butter.
I wanted to find a can of Sprite but they were all hiding in the local shops so I got Coca Cola instead and drank it so I had an empty can I could partially fill with Sprite. Just as a thought if you’re ever thinking of trying this, apparently Coca Cola works well too! I can’t imagine it personally, but then I never imagined Sprite and chicken working well either, so maybe it’s worth a try.
Next step was to smear above chicken in butter mixed with Moroccan Harissa spices, courtesy of the lovely Healthy Supplies, my food blog sponsors. The idea was that Sprite is lemony, and everyone has heard of lemon chicken haven’t they? – so hence the fizzy stuff. Harissa Spice is my new favourite spice of the moment and I love it. It reminds me of the taste of stuffing, except with an edge of peppers and tongue tinglyness – so that’s why I chose to use that. I suppose you could say I’ve made fizzy lemon chicken with spicy stuffing flavouring.
At this point I grimaced and thought, ew! ‘There’s just no way of making this shot look attractive’ and then…….I had a brainwave!
I’d had a particularly bad housework day so whilst all this cooking was going on, the kids were merrily wrecking the living room. Horace arrived home to find a bombsite of a home, and me decorating a raw chicken with a yoghurt pot top hat gherkin eyebrows, peppercorn eyes, and a red pepper mouth. Thankfully he seemed to find it all as amusing as I did and forgave me for being a completely crap housewife. He didn’t ring the hospital and try and get me committed either so that was great. Phew!
I removed all of the decorations before this went in the oven by the way, for aesthetic’s sake. I just wouldn’t have been able to cope with watching my new chicken friend staring out of the oven at me reproachfully whilst burning to a crisp. It would have felt very mean.
So, anyway! The half full can of Sprite inserted very easily into the erm…chickens’s bum (my technical terms are failing me terribly), and I pulled the legs forward so it was like a little chicken tripod with the can holding up the rear. I imagined fighting with a slippery, obstinate, falling over floppy chicken, but nope! It was easy! You just have to be careful when you pick up the chicken on the tray as it’s more unstable than usual. You do need to make sure you have enough room to stand the chicken upright in the oven too, so you might have to remove a shelf or two.
I treated this as a completely normal roast chicken and cooked it for 20 minutes per pound, with an extra 20 minutes added on. When the juices ran clean and the flesh was no longer pink, I knew it was ok to eat.
Now comes the difficult bit! Very carefully remove this from the oven, no wobbling or slamming it around. The Sprite is at boiling temperature and you do not want to spill it!
Removing a can from a scalding hot roast chicken’s rear end, is no mean feat I have to warn you! Obviously the can contains steaming hot liquid so you have to be careful of spillage. I think it’s a two person job personally. One person has to hold the chicken up, and the other person has to remove the can. I used two forks stabbed into the chicken to hold it up and my mum (who was quite baffled with the whole affair) scrabbled at the can with a spoon until it fell out. If you have tongs I think they’re probably the best method.
I have to say, this method works surprisingly well even if it does look a little odd! The meat is very, very moist – if you’ve ever used a microwave to cook a chicken, it’s even more moist than that. The liquid in the can quite literally steams it from the inside out. I didn’t find that the Sprite flavoured the meat particularly, but it did definitely stop the chicken from drying out. Next time I’ll use Coca-Cola and see if that has a stronger taste. The skin was lovely! Crunchy and spicy! I’d definitely recommend adding something like Harissa spice to the skin, as it adds a bit of fizz to a traditional english dish (discounting the can bit of course).
If you are a little worried about the can leaching chemicals into your food, it’s fine! There’s been tests, google it if you’re worried. As you can see from the photo above, the can came out completely unscathed although I think the woman’s grin is a little forced to be honest. Can’t blame her really!
All in all, try it! You might actually like it, and it’s very easy and practical too! You can tell that to your partner as you insert a can of Vimto (for example) into your uncooked sunday roast; whilst they stand, hand on hips, staring at you like you’ve gone completely loopy.