BREAK­ING DOWN A CHICKEN

Cuisine - - WILL BOWMAN -

De­spite this be­ing some­thing that your butcher would hap­pily do for you, I think it’s one of those things ev­ery­one should try at home – it is very straight­for­ward and rather sat­is­fy­ing. All you’ll need is a sharp knife, prefer­ably a small one like a par­ing knife. Like a lot of butchery and fil­let­ing, it’s about let­ting your knife fol­low nat­u­ral paths around bones. It will feel tricky and awk­ward the first cou­ple of times, but you’ll learn where to put the knife very quickly.

Place the chicken, breast side up, legs fac­ing you, on a chop­ping board. Hold the leg and thigh and cut the skin be­tween it and the breast. Re­peat on the other leg.

Turn the chicken over and bend each leg and thigh up and away from the body of the chicken. If you turn it over again, you’ll clearly see where the hip joint has popped out of the socket. Fol­low your knife be­tween the base of the thigh and the back of the chicken, mov­ing through the hip joint. Re­peat on the other side.

For the wings, it’s a lit­tle harder to see where the joint is but use your hands to feel for the right point be­fore cut­ting through it, re­mov­ing the wing. Mak­ing an in­ci­sion near where you think the joint is may help to vi­su­alise it first time round.

Be­fore re­mov­ing the breasts pull the skin from them, re­serv­ing it for your tare. Re­mov­ing the breasts and ten­der­loins is eas­i­est by mak­ing a shal­low cut be­tween them, down the length of the ster­nal car­ti­lage be­fore gen­tly pulling the breast from the car­cass, us­ing long, light strokes from your knife to aid its re­moval.

For this recipe, I have re­moved the bones from the leg and thigh, which I highly rec­om­mend. A sharp knife makes this step much eas­ier. It is as sim­ple as fol­low­ing your blade down the length of the thigh and leg bones, but­ter­fly­ing the meat away from the bones be­fore get­ting your blade be­neath the bone to fully sep­a­rate the two.

There are a lot of great in­struc­tional videos on Youtube.com to help you with the process.

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