I am so pleased… I just cut up a chicken. It took about 10 minutes of cutting and several hours of agonizing.
Now, I’ve cut up chickens before. I even took a knife skills class at CUESA. Here’s a picture of a half chicken that I cut up to make Fried Chicken just after I took the class in February, 2011. I wrote a story about it. Well, that was a year-and-a-half ago.
Last week we bought a whole chicken, frozen, from Hadji Paul’s, a chicken and egg guy at our local Garden Shop Nursery Farmers Market. We haven’t yet found reliable, sustainable meat guys, but this guy and his wife are reliable, their eggs are great and they just brought their first meat chickens to Market.
I flashed back to my eats story, The Root of a Stew from just this past April. The recipe calls for 3 leg and thighs, but I figured I could use the legs, thighs and wings of my chicken for this stew.
So I dreamed about cutting up that chicken, and in my dreams, all I remembered was holding up the bird by a wing, turning it a certain way and… and what?
This morning, after my walk and breakfast, I Googled “Cut up a chicken” and found a video from Food Network showing Alex Guarnashelli cutting up a chicken. Looked really easy. I went to the kitchen, got my chicken out of the fridge and everything came back to me, slightly different than the video.
Start with the wing, the way Dave-the-Butcher taught us. Pick up the bird by a wing, turning it a certain way so the weight of the chicken pulls the skin taught and make a cut where the wing meets the breast. Bend back the wing to locate the joint… make a clean cut around the joint and cut the joint.
Do the other wing.
Cut off the thigh and leg… make a cut and bend back so you can see the joint… make a clean cut around the joint and cut the joint.
Cut off the other thigh…
Separate the leg and thigh… make a cut and bend back so you can see the joint… cut cleanly through the joint.
Straighten the skin and plump the bird.
Cut down one side of the breast bone, pulling and pushing off the meat.
Cut down the other side
Cut each breast in two if you wish.
The carcass is in the sink, I made stock from that and used the stock in this stew.
I used the leg, thigh and wings for my stew. Here they are, browning.
And the stew served. Yum.
The stew is cooked with German Dry Riesling, so we drank Riesling with the stew. (2011 Balthasar Ress Rheingau Riesling for the cooking, 2009 Gerd Anselmann Riesling Kabinett Pfalz for the drinking.)
I recommend you get yourself a chicken and cut it up.