Last week was quite busy so I didn’t get around to perfecting my blog entry until now. Exam #2 happened. I knew that on Exam #2 we would probably-have-to-most-likely break down a chicken, since we were casually working on those techniques over-and-over again. The first time, was thankfully, not my first time. A few years ago, I took some recreational cooking classes and I learned then how to break down a chicken. With that said, that was the first and last time as I had ever found the need to break down a whole chicken – the Husband and I just buy those individual pre-packed chicken breasts to make life easier – not cheaper – but I’ll pay for convenience.
In class we have broken down the chicken more than once, usually doing it differently each time. We also had practice with a duck. – Birds of a feather flock together when it comes to the idea of how to break them down.
First you clean them, then take off the legs, the arms (wings), and then the breasts, sometimes with the bone, sometimes without. Either way, the goal is to cut off as much meat as possible in edible pieces and just leave behind the bones, guts and slimy stuff.
It’s still a learning in progress, but I like to think I get better each time. To practice I bought ta chicken over the weekend. Dad and Laurie were visiting so I did a practice demonstration. I was really proud of myself because I was able to show them how much I have learned in class (and I think they were impressed). It also helped tremendously to be able to talk out the entire process step-by-step. We had to take a break to get conformation from youtube on how to remove the keel bone, but other than that little hiccup, it was a success.
Still nervous, I decided to buy another bird and practice one more time that Sunday.
I have the hardest time making sure to cut ALL the meat off – usually leaving behind some of the oyster meat which is the bird’s love handle & apparently really tasty, see love handles are a good thing.
And I have trouble popping the hip joint to remove the thigh from the body, usually it take more tries than I care to omit. Having broken a bone once when I hyper-extended my elbow (the ball broke out of my socket leaving the socket in two pieces) I always cringe when we pop joints because I know how it feels.
But with that said – that is exactly what we do, we pull the bone backwards so that the joint is in a hyper-extension position and then pop.
At the end of the day, you should have two wings, two thighs, two legs and two breasts.
When I practiced at home we grilled the meat with the skin on. We saved some of the meat for weekday dinners and the Husband loved it. He is convinced that chicken cooked with the skin is life-changing. I could easily do without.
And I got my Exam #2 grade: Just as expected, I did really well except I left behind some of the oyster meat..