Jamie is a global phenomenon and sticking his name or face on a product undoubtedly pushes sales, so it is weird how he doesn’t have a coherent brand. He sells things like this misjudged Italian Christmas Pud in Boots, a bottle of balsamic vinegar in Sainsbury’s and a line of ready meals in his own shop-cum-cookery school Recipease. Nothing seems to link all these products up, except a pastel colour scheme and of course Jamie himself. I’ve worked in tiny organisations who have been more precious about their brand and how it is represented than team Jamie seem to be. The guy is happy to stick his name on anything as long as you can eat it or cook with it. On top of all that, the combination of products he endorses seem to be random too; some peppercorns here, some frozen fish fingers there and now (thanks once again to Ocado) a spatchcock BBQ chicken.
As any Jamie Oliver product should be the chicken is labelled as “Higher Welfare British Chicken” interestingly though there is no explanation of what “higher welfare” means. They don’t say it’s free range, so presumably it’s kept in a barn, they don’t say it’s organic, so presumably it’s pumped with drugs. Perhaps in this instance higher welfare means “higher than you can legally get away with” which isn’t really saying much. I’d like a bit more transparency than that please Jamie, so please put some more detail on your packaging next time.
The chicken is flavoured with a chilli, orange and fennel marinade which sounds pretty good to me. It was simple as anything to cook as it was oven ready and only took 70 mins. I made some spicy wedges to go with it and stuck some salad leaves on the side. It came out of the oven accompanied by a delicious waft of fennel and it looked delicious.
I don’t know if you saw any of Jamie’s recent programme about cooking on a budget, but the premise was basically that you buy a piece of meat that feeds about four people, you give them a tiny portion and try to stretch it out to cover ten meals. It would definitely save you money doing things that way, but it would also leave you hungry. I mention this because the spatchcock chicken said it would serve 4-6 people but in reality two of us got through it with little effort. I’m willing to admit that it was a big portion – but at the same time I pity the folk who tried to stretch this bird between six of them.
Anyway the important thing is how it tastes; the meat was flavourful and moist, there was a subtle chilli heat, but I would have preferred a bit more, the fennel was fragrant but not overpowering and the orange I couldn’t taste at all. Overall though I thought the whole thing was delicious, my girlfriend thought it was dry – so make of that what you will!
I’d happily recommend this for an easy, tasty roast and I think if Jamie ever decides to have a more targeted approach to his products then marinaded meats are a good way to go.
Jamie Oliver American-Style BBQ Chicken 1.3kg for £7.21