|Deboned whole chicken|
It was like that scene in the movie Julie and Julia, when Julie attempts to debone a whole duck while watching a Julia Child video. It's her grand finale' while working her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I get it, it's a big technical challenge and I want to own it.
I recently rediscovered Jacques Pepin and became fascinated with a few videos of him deboning a whole chicken which he says can be done in about 45 seconds. After watching the video dozens of times I took my very sharp boning knife in hand and gave it a try. My first attempt took about 20 minutes, not to mention, I wasn't sure what he meant by the "hip". Do chickens have hips? I sliced and realized I'd gotten it wrong but not too much damage was done.
|Stuffed, rolled & tied|
I followed his example and stuffed it with spinach, garlic and cheese; even got the basic idea of tying it with slip knots, then browning and roasting in the oven. I've always thought chicken is better skin on, bone in. While this did keep the skin in tact, the point was to remove all the bones so it could be rolled and stuffed. I expected a drier rolled bird but it was a remarkably moist, flavorful and tender chicken. My husband gave it a thumbs up.
This isn't a must but if you'd like to learn a new culinary skill, this is a good one and it makes one fine chicken dish that has that wow factor. I'm not about to give any instruction here but recommend watching a good video and then sacrifice a few whole chickens as practice. At worst, you've got plenty of stock material.
If you choose to give deboning a try, remember these tips:
- use a very sharp, boning knife. A real boning knife is not a chef or pairing knife. It's use is specific to butchering. See mine in the top picture.
- practice safe handling of raw chicken and any surface or equipment it touches (cutting board, knife, etc.). I washed my hands every time I had to stop, grab something or rewind that video and I used lots of paper toweling. Wash cutting board and knife in warm soapy water, spray with a bleach based cleaner and rinse well.
- save the carcass and other bones in a zip lock bag to freeze for stock.