How to Chop Up a Chicken

To Chop a Chicken: Begin

To Chop a Chicken: Begin

One of the easiest ways to save in a supermarket is to do the preparation yourself. Take chicken, for example: If you buy it cut up into serving-sized pieces it’s going to cost significantly more than a whole chicken because the supermarket will pass on the cost of paying someone to cut up the bird.

The obvious solution is to do it yourself. You’ll need a cutting board, a chicken, and a sharp thick-bladed kitchen knife that’s stiff enough to cut through the bones without twisting, and a smaller blade for more delicate cuts.

To Chop a Chicken: Trim the Wing Tips

To Chop a Chicken: Trim the Wing Tips

Begin by removing the wing tips (just the final joint).

To Chop a Chicken: Trim the Tailbone

To Chop a Chicken: Trim the Tailbone

And then the chicken’s tail, which contains an oil filled gland that will simply add to the oiliness of stewed or fried chicken, or cause flare-ups if you are grilling the bird.

To Chop a Chicken: Split it Up the Back

To Chop a Chicken: Split it Up the Back

Next, put the chicken breast side down, and slice cleanly up the spine, pressing down so the blade scores along the ribs. Turn the chicken upright, with the neck pressed into the cutting board, and cut straight down along the spine to open the chicken; my father-in-law (a retired butcher) taps the back of the blade repeatedly with his other hand to drive it through the ribs.

To Chop a Chicken: And Then Up the Front

To Chop a Chicken: And Then Up the Front

Open the chicken as if it were a book and press it flat against the cutting board; the sternum will begin to split and you’ll be able to remove its bony central core by pulling it up. Cut through the center of the breast, lengthwise, and you’ll have two chicken halves. One will have the neck attached; remove it by cutting through it with the knife, pressing down on the back of the blade with your other hand.

Note:If you want to make Pollo al Mattone, grilled chicken squashed flat by a brick (a tasty Etruscan recipe), simply open the chicken up the back and pull out the sternum if it will come, but don’t finish splitting it.

To Chop a Chicken: Quarter It...

To Chop a Chicken: Quarter It…

To quarter the chicken, cut each half on a slight diagonal, to separate the breast from the thigh.

If you’re cutting up a small bird at this point you may be done.

To Chop a Chicken: Separate Wings from Breasts

To Chop a Chicken: Separate Wings from Breasts

If it’s larger, separate the breasts from the wings.

To Chop a Chicken: Separate Hips from Thighs

To Chop a Chicken: Separate Hips from Thighs

Separate the drumsticks from the upper thighs by flexing the legs and cutting through the knee joints. At this point you have a perfect chicken for grilling or stewing. If you want more pieces, say for frying, cut the breasts in half again, on a diagonal.

To Chop a Chicken: Done!

To Chop a Chicken: Done!

Chopping the chicken: Done!

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Categories: Illustrated Recipes And More, Tecniques

Author:Cosa Bolle in Pentola

Italy boasts an astonishing number of varietals, denominations, and wines, and tremendous changes are sweeping the land. New wines are being created, new DOCs are being introduced, and the existing denominations are overhauling their regulations both to reflect the practices adopted by their member wineries and to favor improvements in quality. Even the most staid and stolid region can flower seemingly overnight, emerging with exciting new wines and wineries that require rewriting the enological maps and rethinking one's positions. And, of course, recipes too, because cuisine and wine are closely intertwined and it's difficult to imagine one without the other.

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