This post is in honor of Andrew, a good friend of my husband. If he was eating chicken and you asked him what it was he’d say, “dead chicken.” I like his answer, because a lot of times our food is so processed, it doesn’t even resemble what it used to be (e.g. chicken nuggets), and we forget where it came from.
That’s why I prefer buying whole chickens. Buying an un-butchered chicken might seem like a hassle or might even be intimidating, but there are several reasons why it’s a good idea.
1. Buying a whole chicken is cheaper than buying pre-butchered chicken.
2. Buying a whole chicken can be healthier than buying pre-butchered chicken. A lot of chicken meat is injected with a stock solution. Since whole chickens are cheaper than pre-butchered ones, you can afford to buy a better quality of meat that doesn’t contain additives.
3. You can make delicious stock from the remains of the chicken.
Deboning a chicken takes a little practice. After you’ve done it a few times, it takes less than 10 minutes, from start to finish. Start with a sharp knife.
Place the chicken on a plastic cutting board, breast side down. Find the leg of the chicken. Cut through the skin between the body and the leg until you reach a joint. Hold the leg and pull it away from the body, so that the leg pops out of the socket. Cut between the bone and the socket to detach the leg. Remove the other leg the same way.
Flip the chicken over so that it’s breast side up. Make a shallow cut down the middle of the back, just to the side of the breast bone.
Make the cut deeper, staying as close to the ribcage as possible so that the meat will remain with the breast. Eventually you will reach the wishbone. Cut the meat away from it to detach the breast. Repeat with the other breast.
To remove the wing from the breast, pull the wing away from the breast to pop it out of the socket. Cut between the joint and the bone to detach.
Remove the skin from the meat, if you wish, before packaging it for storage.
Use the carcass, wings and giblets to make homemade chicken stock. Place them in a stock pot with an onion, celery, carrots, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf. Cover them with water and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the stock for 1-2 hours. Strain out the solids before using.