Monday, August 9, 2010

What can you do with a Fresh Organic Chicken?

This week I wanted to show you something very hands on, with lots of photos, to try and make things as easy, as possible to follow, on a blog post!!
I wonder have you ever dissected a whole chicken? Why would you???
Using a whole chicken guarantees you the freshest chicken meat and then a lovely fresh carcass remains, with which you can make your own chicken stock.
Here's how to get started:
Get yourself a chopping board and a sharp knife (one that is a little flexible, like a filleting knife, would be great)

Of course you'll also need a whole fresh chicken, even better if it is an organic one.
Start by removing the wing tips, at the first joint, then the wing piece from the second joint.

Now cut down either side of the breast bone, in the centre of the chicken, to remove both breasts. Try to stay as close to the rib cage of the carcass, with your knife to get all the flesh of each breast. Finally you will need to cut through the knuckle joint, to remove each breast completely from the carcass.

Then cut off each leg section, you will again need to cut through the knuckle joint, to remove completely from the carcass.

This will leave you with two "Maryland" leg pieces or you can cut the drum stick off, again cutting through the joint, leaving you with a seperate thigh piece.

If you wish remove the bone from the centre of the thigh piece.

There will be a meaty round piece on the edge of each thigh piece, this is the oyster, you can seperate this, or leave it as part of the thigh, depending on what your using the cuts of chicken for.
Once your done, you should end up with two of everything!! Two breasts, two thighs, two wing pieces, two drumsticks and two oyster pieces....and a lovely fresh carcass for stock, as well as any other bones, such as the two wing tips and the two bones removed from the thighs.

You can now refrigerate or freeze your chicken pieces, to use as desired.
Now let's make the stock:
What you need:

1 chicken carcass (even better if you have two!)
1 onion, peeled & diced
2 carrots,diced
1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
1/2 a leek, washed & roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
6 parsley stalks (no leaves as send it bitter)
handful of fresh thyme
6 whole black peppercorns
water, (to fill pot and fully cover the carcass)

What you do:
Put all the ingredients in a large pot (approx 6-8 litre)

bring to the boil, for half an hour
ladle off the scum that rises, discard

turn down to a medium heat, allow to simmer gently for a further 2hrs
strain the liquid through a sieve

if desired, return the liquid stock to the stove to simmer again, this is to further reduce the quantity of stock, to intensify the flavour

allow the stock to cool
refrigerate for a few hours
fat will settle on surface as it cools, remove this hardened fat

Stock will last in fridge 3-5 days or in the freezer up to 3 months
Use as desired in soups, sauces, risotto, curries etc.
So have a go, at starting from scratch with a whole chicken, let me know how you go or if you have any questions.
Remember, with dissecting the chicken, practice makes perfect, so do it lots and you'll get better and better at it!
Whole fresh organic chickens are available at most local butchers, some supermarkets and all organic food stores.
For more recipes "Cooking from Scratch" go to

No comments: