Have you ever heard of a roast chicken recipe where the bird has a beer can stuffed up its arse? I think it's an American thing, which says a lot really...
I thought I might give it a try this evening. My expectation was that the beer would bubble up and flow out of the can to mingle with the meat juices. This would produce a lovely rich gravy all beery and chickeny without requiring much intervention on my part.
How wrong I was.
Basically this is what you do. Take a chicken. Open a small can of beer and drink half of it. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken. Cut a lime (or lemon in my case) in half, juice it and pour the juice over the bird. Stuff the two empty halves into the cavity. Take the chicken, turn it on its bum and sit it down on the beer can. Cover with foil and chuck it in a 175°C pre-heated oven.
Sounds great doesn't it? Well it's actually pretty disappointing. The beer stays put, you get no super rich beery gravy and at some point you have to consider the interesting question of how to remove the beer can from the chicken's bum. It's now hot, the chicken is hot, everything is slippery and disaster is just a moment away if you drop the chicken on its side so that burning beer comes pouring out of the can splashing onto you as it makes its inevitable way down to the floor.
With this scenario playing out in my head, and having no wish to provoke third degree burns and spend the evening in the emergency department along with the night's drunks, I asked my eldest to come and help. He wondered, justifiably, why the chicken had a beer can up its arse, so I gave him the quick answer ("it's the recipe") rather than an in-depth analysis of the merits of cooking thusly, and got him to hold the can with a tea-towel while I tugged the chicken upwards.
Anyone would think the chicken was having a ball, so reluctant was it to relinquish the can. We managed to separate the lovers and I looked eagerly for all the lovely beery gravy. Well, if I looked from now until next year it wouldn't make any difference. There was not a drop. The beer had all stayed snugly in the can despite being subjected to some pretty searing temperatures.
Out of spite, I poured some of it into a saucepan because I was not going to let a flippin' beer can get the better of me, added the meat juices and made the gravy by hand.
For all the palava you'd expect it to taste divine. Well, you'd be as disappointed as me. It was okay - the chicken was moist, but then my roast chicken usually is, so no big revelation there - and because I'd followed the recipe and not added any herbs, I thought it a bit bland.
The boys were not especially impressed either, so I don't think I'll bother again. It got rave American reviews though. (No comment)