As part of my ongoing apparent mission to eat my way through all the types of microwave meals in the world when we have no leftovers in the fridge for me to take to work, I tried the City Kitchen Mexican Chipotle Chicken meal for the first time today. I’ve not tried anything from The City Kitchen brand before, but they appealed to me because they are not your standard recipe choices. Gone are the days where the only ready meals available were lasagne and cottage pie!
The packaging is clearly trying to give off a sort of artisanal, international air to the cuisine – a sort of Borough Market meets your microwave. Or the office microwave in my case, since we haven’t got one at home. I adore Mexican food so I was quite keen to try the Mexican Chipotle Chicken meal.
It was a very decent size and certainly a filling lunch. I was pleasantly surprised to see that after rice, chicken was the largest proportion of ingredient, which did seem unusual and a sign of a quality meal. The rice was lightly spiced and had black beans running through, while the chicken in sauce was thick and unctuous and very lightly spiced, but slightly smokey in flavour.
Overall, I enjoyed the meal but I did have a few areas for improvement. For me, as with so many other ready meals, this was way, way too sweet! I think it might be something in the flavour development process where someone thinks “it’s got tomato in the sauce, therefore the sauce must be sweet” and they add more sweeteners to enhance it. It’s just too much. I think I would have enjoyed the chipotle flavour much more if the sweetness weren’t overpowering the overall taste – especially as the chilli was so very mild. Secondly, there were no where near enough black beans. I love em, so they should put at least twice as many in, in my opinion. When we were in Mexico, they never skimped on the black beans.
Finally, I thought that the nutritional information on the packaging was unnecessarily cramped and confusing. It was all run together in a single small paragraph and the only quantities given were per 100g – despite the meal (e.g. one serving) weighing 385g! Not the sort of thing you can easily calculate in comparison to other products. Just tell us how much fat, how many calories and how much salt and sugar there is in the entire meal, since we’ll be eating the entire meal!! And if suppliers don’t want to put that information on because they’re worried it’ll look too high and put people off, maybe they should make their meals a bit healthier! Less sugar, more black beans in this instance – not rocket science, is it?
This was definitely one of the nicer ready meals I’ve had recently. If I see another one reduced to 60p in Tesco I shall grab it and put it away in the freezer until the next occasion arises where I have no leftovers to take in to work for my lunch. On no account will I be spending £3.50 to buy one, because quite frankly I think if you’d pay that for a microwave meal you need your head looking at. I can get some quite seriously good food made and served to me in restaurants/pubs in town for that and if I was looking to spend £3.50 a day on lunch, then leftovers wouldn’t be an issue….
7 out of 10 Extreme Points though – if you accept it’s a ready meal it’s a pretty good one.