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"We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue." John Piper

Friday, November 7, 2008

Let's Talk Chicken!

Yesterday I posted a recipe for chicken. What I did not tell you is that I always (without exception) buy chicken whole. Why? Because:

1. It is much, much cheaper. I pay about $1.69 - $1.99 per pound for free-range chicken raised without hormones or antibiotics.

2. The less processed food is, the less possibility for food-borne illness.

3. With that purchase I get chicken breasts and dark meat also. From one chicken breast I get about 8-10 chicken cutlets for 6-10 servings (Parmesan Chicken, Chicken and Eggplant Alfredo, etc.) From the dark meat I get another meal that makes 6-8 servings.

4. I also get the carcass which I use for stock. The stock will easily make up one very large pot of soup or one average pot of soup and two or three bases for other recipes, such as sauce for Chicken Divan.

5. All in all, I can get anywhere from 4-7 meals out of one chicken (depending on leftovers). I also get sauces that would cost me big bucks to buy. And the store bought sauces are not at all made from real food (so they are not healthy) and do not taste nearly as good. On average I pay about $10 for a five pound chicken. That's pretty cheap eating but the meals made from a whole chicken are meals you would find only in an upscale restaurant, dishes such as Chicken Divan, Chicken Parmesan, chicken curries, stir frys, and delicious soups, even main dish salads, etc.

It makes so much more sense to buy the whole chicken! The problem is that so many women nowadays do not know what to do with a whole chicken, nor do they know how to cut up a whole chicken and the best procedures to get the most money out of a whole chicken.

So I looked on YouTube and found lots of good demos on how to cut up a chicken, how to make stock, how to make chicken cutlets from a chicken breast, etc.

Some Helpful Videos

The following video is the way I've always cut up my chickens. My mom taught me this when I was still at home and learning how to cook. (Don't pay too much attention to this lady's sanitizing method at the end of the video, however. Instead, wash the cutting board with hot soapy water, dry it then spray it with straight hydrogen peroxide followed by a spray of straight white vinegar. It is more effective but not at all caustic):
How to Cut Up a Chicken

I really like this way too and want to try it because the chicken breast, when cut this way, comes out boneless:
How to Fabricate a Chicken


Here is another video about how to prepare chicken cutlets. I do it like this, but use a mallet (I will have to try my knuckles though). And I also cut the flattened cutlets in half, to be about the size of the palm of my hand. The chicken goes further this way. Chicken cutlets cook really fast. Use them in the recipe I posted yesterday (Chicken and Eggplant Alfredo) and in Chicken Parmesan, etc. Preparing Chicken Cutlets
Here is a video about making chicken stock, although I cook it much longer and start out a little differently, so read my comments below after you watch the video: How to Make Chicken Stock

Comments on making stock:
1. I do not trim off the fat. It goes into the pot as well, along with the bones and any skin removed from the breast or other parts. After the stock has chilled I do remove the fat. But I keep it as it is a very good fat to use in cooking. Keep it covered in the refrigerator.

2. Put only the chicken and water in the stockpot to begin with. Cover the chicken with water and then add 2 more inches of water. I also add chicken feet - about 4 for a large stockpot, as they add wonderful gelatin to the stock. Pour 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar into water and let this set with the lid on for an hour at room temperature. The vinegar draws the minerals out of the bones.

3. Turn on the burner and bring to a boil (still without the veggies and herbs). Remove any scum as it forms. After removing the scum, add veggies and herbs, though sometimes I do not add anything as I really like the taste of stock without anything else added. Try experimenting to see how you like it.


4. Cook for several hours, then remove any meat from the bones. The meat gets dry if you leave it to cook any longer than several hours.
5. Continue to cook the stock much longer than suggested - up to 24 hours as this draws all the good minerals, glucosamine, collagen, gelatin, etc. out of the carcass.

6. Did you notice that when the chef in the video was removing the fat from the chilled stock, that the stock was liquid? A really good stock gels (like jello) when it is chilled. That's a result of cooking it longer and with the chicken feet (I find them frozen at Whole Foods Market).

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2 Comments:

Bern said...

Sharon!

What a great post. I am one of those that are "afraid" of buying whole chicken. Thanks for the post and encouragement.

Anonymous said...

Where do you buy your chickens Sharon?
Anne

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