Hooooray! It’s nearly Christmas and I can’t wait. Christmas doesn’t only mean a good chunk of time off work and a whole load of presents, it also means Heston comes into his own. I still think the hidden orange Christmas pudding is a winner, as is his Earl Grey stollen. He no longer makes the puff pastry mince pies which many people thought tasted of toilet cleaner but which I enjoyed, and thankfully he never revisited these prawn horrors. There are a whole raft of other products that Heston trots out at Christmas some of which I will be reviewing over the next couple of weeks. One Heston product that is not a seasonal one but that I have only just got round to trying is his chicken with sherry cream. The fact that it has sherry in it could provide a tenuous link to Christmas but as it’s available all year that obviously isn’t what Heston was getting at.
The packet states “With complimentary flavours of sherry, mushrooms, cream, and smoked pancetta, this must be the ultimate chicken dinner.” well I suppose it could be, but when I pull the foil tray out of it’s cardboard sleeve and pull off the film lid it is a greyish colour and I really don’t think food should ever be grey. Regardless I stick it in the oven for 35 minutes and a fragrant sherry scent fills the kitchen. The cooking has taken the edge off the grey colour and it is now a gentle beige which is far more appealing. However even with the improved colour tones whilst the chicken is sat in the foil tray it looks very meals on wheels, so I transfer it to a plate and it starts to look quite appealing.
I dig in and it’s a strange dish, the cream sauce is thin and watery and the sherry adds more sweetness than seems natural. Interestingly the two chicken thighs have been left with their skin on which would be a wonderous thing if the skin was salty, fatty and crisp, instead it is flaccid, wet and flobbedy. The whole baby onions are a nice flavoursome touch, the button mushrooms have a rubbery texture and no detectable flavour and the thin sauce is screaming out for a bit of seasoning. The chicken itself is tender but again needs a blast of salt to let it reach it’s full potential. Overall I didn’t find it very enjoyable, but with a few tweaks I think it could be. Onwards and upwards I suppose, bring on the Christmas treats and let’s see if Heston can pull it back.
Heston from Waitrose Chicken with Sherry Cream £4.99 for a meal for one (mine was in the reduced aisle for £3.89)