Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken and Cranberry Maple Pecan Pudding for Christmas in July
On Sunday, I invited four friends over to my place for Christmas in July dinner. For the uninitiated, Australia's seasons mean that July is winter, making it the perfect time to indulge in Christmas treats which are more suited to cold weather than December, when Christmas is celebrated around the world. This means that in Australia, we really can have two Christmases - one in July with roasts and Christmas pud, and one in December with seafood and icecream.
We started off with cheese (washed rind, triple cream brie and cheddar), dips (sweet potato and cashew and guacamole) and crackers to start the conversation while dinner finished cooking:
Here is the table all laid in expectation:
For dinner, we had slow cooker roast chicken with roast pumpkin, potato and carrot, and steamed asparagus:
I had never cooked a whole chicken in the slow cooker before, so I was pleasantly surprised. the recipe for the chicken that I used (including a spice rub) is online here at Tori Avey's website. The meat stayed beautifully moist and tender, and the spice rub gave the meat a nice flavour. For the gravy (not pictured), I drained off the juices that cooked out of the chicken and thickened them up in a saucepan with a dessertspoon of cornflour dissolved in water to make a paste.
Two of my guests are gluten and dairy sensitive, so I made this Cranberry, Maple and Pecan Pudding from BBC Good Food:
You can see that when I turned out the pudding, the base of it caved in a little. I can only guess that the crumbly texture of the pudding is at least in part due to its gluten free status. Next time, I would leave the pudding to cool in the pudding basin for a while before unmoulding.
I didn't have fresh cranberries (they are virtually impossible to obtain in Australia), so I used frozen cherries in the sauce instead:
For the dairy lovers, there was also raspberry ripple icecream to go with the pudding.
The pudding doesn't taste like regular Christmas pudding - it is nowhere near as rich for a start. However, it is very fruity, and reminds me of a light fruitcake.
It was a fun evening and a great way to celebrate Christmas in July.