Downton Abbey fans across the UK have come to call Sundays “Downton Day“, the day of the week to enjoy new episode of Season 3. Don’t fret US fans, January 6th is drawing closer and by that time, UK fans will be pining for Season 4.
S3E6 is a great episode for those who love Mrs. Patmore, Daisy, and how food can play an important part in people’s lives. She helps Ethel prepare for a luncheon after Sybil’s passing which Robert is opposed to. I came away with specific dishes to prepare for Downton fans, and affirmation that the role of more experienced cooks is to help others, particularly those eager to learn. This dovetails nicely into what to cook for a casual Downton Day Dinner.
Families used to sit down to Sunday dinner, and some to try to keep this one day of the week for gathering for a great meal. I do like to serve meals which are hearty, yield leftovers for the rest of the week, but also those which are easy to prepare. Fuss on Saturday nights, relax on Sundays.
The Downton Abbey kitchen has seen their share of mishaps; some which were rescued–dropped chicken, broken hollandaise–others were harder to disguise: Mrs Patmore’s salty pudding and Ethel’s burnt souffle. Pick up and move on. And my advice to tasters? Give gentle, but truthful feedback, otherwise we won’t learn as cooks. It is in your best interest: otherwise you will be continually served food that you don’t like or which is improperly cooked. Isobel is a great example of how to encourage and be supportive. When Lord D approves a dish (he owned a national culinary magazine in a past life) I know I can share it with you.
How to Make a Good Roast Chicken
This is one of Downton’s famous dishes from Season 1 when a roast chicken fell to the floor, chewed on by a cat, then picked up dusted off and put back on the serving tray and sent upstairs. “What the eyes can’t see the heart won’t greive over.”
Roast chicken is one of the basic dishes that everyone should learn how to cook. While it is tempting to reach for the prepared rotisserie chicken at the deli, roast chicken is pretty easy to make, will taste better, and is good practice for when you need to prepare turkey for the holidays.
There are probably as many good roast chicken recipes and tips as there are cooks, and perhaps even chickens, which can make it really confusing for beginners. To add more confusion we really don’t “roast” chickens in the oven anymore–like our ancestors over an open fire–we bake them.
I am a no-nonsense cook so keep it simple and fuss free, particularly when it comes to roast chicken dinner so I always put root vegetables in the pan, whack it in the oven and expect to have a good meal come out when the cooking is done. I am trying to enjoy my day off to watch Downton, after all.
Downton Worthy Roast Chicken
Tools of the Trade
While cooks in Downton’s era may not have had exactly the same type of kitchen gadgets, Victorian cooks did start the craze for creating a tool for each job in the kitchen, so I blame our ancestors for my obsession with collecting these time savers.
I do love the hunt in my local cooking stores, but you can order this stuff directly from Amazon so you have more time to watch Downton.
Instant Read Thermometer
The thermometer is so essential to a chef that all chef’s coats have a little pocket on the sleeve to hold this tool.
*A Cool Multi Purpose Pan: You can use any roasting pan to make a good roast chicken, but ensure that it isn’t too large for the bird(s) or it will burn. I love multi-tasking tools, so picked up this lovely little multi-purpose pan which works in the oven as well as the grill, allowing you to grill, steam and bake. By putting the one section with holes into the base, I didn’t need a rack. I found mine in a cooking store after searching for a smaller pan for a single chicken. Who knew I could have saved the gas and price by ordering it directly from Amazon?
Fat/Gravy separator: You pour the liquid in the top which has a screen so it separates the bits. The spout draws from the bottom so you can pour out the rich juices, leaving the fat on top.