Thursday, January 10, 2013

How to Joint a Chicken

All going to plan, over the next month or two I will be posting recipes from classes I have been ttaught over the past year. In that time I have had the opportunity to cover quite a bit of ground, so will start including a few more instructional "cheffy" things which I hope you will find useful. Something here today that covers an ingredient quite commonly used in Mexico, the bird.

The idea of butchery and knife skills to me, is to be able to control the produce you buy and use as you become less reliant on others to prepare it. There is also something quite satisfying about doing this sort of thing, learning the anatomy of a bird or fish and seeing the animal as a whole which I think is an important cognitive experience for any serious cook.

This basic breakdown will render the bird broken down into two breasts, two wings, two marylands and a carcass for stock. You could continue the process to yield two drumsticks and thighs separated out, but I didn't think of that when I was doing it so no photos of that step I'm afraid.

Let's get to it.

How to Joint a Bird

1. Place the whole chicken on a clean board with the tail end facing toward you.
2. Make an incision one side of the breastbone cartilage, starting at the neck. In one motion, cut down towards the tail keeping the knife following -and guided by- the breastbone.   
3. Use the knife to separate the breast meat from the rib-cage. Gently push the meat away with your other hand to give a better view of where you are cutting, and leave as little meat as possible on the carcass. 
4. Continue cutting and folding the breast, and eventually only the shoulder joint will hold the breast on. Fold the breast back to give a clear view. 
5. Push the tip of your knife into the joint and it will separate easily. You are not cutting bone, only making a small incision through the cartilage. 
6. Flip the bird over and place your thumb on the hip joint. Pull the drumstick towards you until the joint pops out. You can now make a cut straight from the top of the maryland to the tail. Be sure to cut around and include the oyster. Repeat steps 1-6 on the other side of the chicken. 

A great recipe for Helado de Cajeta coming next week. Thanks as always for checking in.

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