I’ve heard loads of good and loads of bad comments about these Colman’s Season and Shake packets. So the obvious thing to do was buy one and try it out for myself. I went for the 49p Cajun Chicken version.
Oh that’s blurred isn’t it? Apologies!
The idea of this product is for mess free easy cooking with fresh ingredients. The recipe was chicken, onion, pepper, cherry tomatoes, rice, water and the included seasoning mix. It took a couple of minutes to prepare (you have to chop up the chicken and veg etc), but nothing too taxing, and then it’s just a case of putting it all in the bag, mixing it all together, and sticking it in the oven.
You then just walk away and leave it to cook like you would a casserole (but being small pieces it doesn’t take an age).
As you can see the bag expands – the instructions say that you can’t risk the bag touching the sides of the oven, so I took one of my trays out to make sure it didn’t.
The comments I’ve seen from others include that the suggested time on the packet isn’t long enough – in some cases the chicken has still been raw and the vegetables rock hard. The recommendation for this one was 35 mins and the meat, veg and rice were cooked perfectly. Well most of it was – there was a bit of rice very stuck to the bottom of the bag, I should probably have “stirred” the food half way through the cooking time to prevent this. Having said that, there wasn’t much waste, a very small amount of rice.
Another comment I have seen more than once over on twitter is that the bag can split, which would be incredibly annoying as the meal wouldn’t cook in steam like it is designed to do (and it would be a mess!). I found the bag was fine, with no leakage, but it’s worth checking the bag is all ok before putting your food in.
I can understand why the instructions suggest to put the meal into a serving dish – it’s pretty impossible to serve this onto individual plates using a spoon in the bag, but it was easy to tip it all out (with the help of some gloves) and serve it from there. Of course with the preparation and serving dish the suggestion that there’s no washing up is of course a stretch, that is probably not a claim Colman’s should be making.
Taste wise this was excellent. The Cajun seasoning turned a normal chicken and rice dish into something very yummy. Portion size was good too – there was plenty of food.
Overall this was easy and very tasty – a great idea and I am confident to try others in the range. It’s a very lazy way of cooking but it’s all fresh and decent ingredients so it’s not so bad, and sometimes lazy is necessary as it means you can get on with stuff while dinner is cooking.
Apparently I managed to choose a flavour that isn’t on the Colman’s website so I can’t link to it – I guess it’s being phased out (hence the 49p price tag). But you can see the range here.