My family arrived in Australia in January 1986. I have vivid memories from that year of my first Australian summer, when so many things were new. The sun rose much earlier than it did in Malaysia and shone impossibly bright when the most of our neighbourhood seemed to be still asleep. I learned to recognise the sound of automatic lawn sprinklers starting up in the morning. That summer, I learned how to ride a bicycle, at the relatively late age of ten.
I remember the first time my parents came home from Saturday morning shopping with the groceries and a hot barbecue chicken for our lunch. We kids grabbed plates and cutlery and helped butter bread, wash lettuce and slice tomatoes. We drank red creaming soda with our lunch. That was my first supermarket barbecue chook and the first time remember I eating chicken with stuffing. That summer, I learned to say “chook” as well as “chicken”.
From all those years ago, I still like the supermarket barbecue chicken. Although they’re called “barbecue” chickens, they’re not cooked on a barbecue at all – from what I understand, they’re cooked either in a rotisserie oven or combi-oven.
Jac recently bought us a barbecue chook for brunch from IGA supermarket. It was Sunday morning, the time of day when the chickens are at their freshest.
I tore open the double foil-lined paper bags and breathed in the wonderful warm aroma of the plump barbecue chook inside.
But the chicken had an odd shape. I was struck by a moment of panic – where were the drumsticks? I realised with relief that they were there, just hidden. For some reason, they’d been tucked beneath the chicken.
If we want a barbecue chook on a Sunday, we get it from IGA as that’s our only local supermarket open and selling hot chickens on a Sunday. But I wish those chickens came with stuffing. I love barbecue chook stuffing. I always peek inside each chicken just in case the recipe’s been changed, but so far, no stuffing (some IGA supermarkets’ barbecue chooks do have stuffing, but not ours). Jac knows how much I love stuffing, so when she roasts a chicken, she always makes stuffing for it.
Jac made herself chicken, cheese and salad rolls. The bread rolls were white dinner rolls. She was a little over-ambitious and made three – she only managed to finish two of them. Jac loves lettuce, in case you didn’t notice. :P
That’s chopped spring onion on the tomatoes in the middle roll.
I made myself a plate with chicken thigh meat, skin, a drumstick and a wing, fresh tomato seasoned with salt and pepper, a few slices of Maasdam cheese we got at the Good Food & Wine Show Perth, and a buttered bread roll.
That chicken was so moist, juicy and tender, the skin so salty and savoury.
Another reason I love getting a hot chicken from the supermarket is we can usually stretch it across a few meals over the next couple of days. Of course, it’s at its best on the day we buy it – especially the breast meat, which is much drier the next day on goes downhill from there – but it’s so handy having cooked chicken in the fridge, ready to go. We’re always careful and make sure we store and reheat it properly.
On the Monday night, we made toasted sandwiches with the leftover chicken. I took the meat off the bones and mixed it with mayonnaise, cracked black pepper and a little Australian chardonnay mustard (also bought at the Good Food & Wine Show). I spread a generous amount of the chicken mix on thick slices of bread. Jac added Swiss cheese and fresh tomato, then toasted them in our sandwich press. The Swiss cheese melted beautifully and oozed out, all gooey and chewy. We each ate one of these sandwiches and shared another with chicken, cheese, tomato and Beerenberg Taka Tala chutney, which we bought from, you guessed it, the Good Food & Wine Show!
On Tuesday morning I had Maggi noodles for breakfast. Chicken flavoured noodles and broth with the last of the leftover barbecue chicken.
I get my Maggi noodles only from Asian supermarkets – they are Malaysian Maggi noodles. I find the Malaysian Maggi noodles have a tighter curl and tastier texture than the Australian version. The seasoning tastes different too.
I’m sure some of you think I’m crazy to eat instant noodles with leftover chicken for breakfast. I’m not crazy – many people who meet me assume I was born in Australia until these little South-East Asian habits give me away. ;)
I love supermarket barbecue chook. I’ll happily eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or take it on a picnic. Are any of you fans of the humble supermarket barbecue chook?