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Its just chicken

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
That is the attitude I have had up until now but since I am putting some heart into my cooking now I stop and think.

For fairly simple dishes like a chicken marsalla or chicken in coconut sauce is there going to be much difference between a frozen Costco chicken as opposed to a fresh packaged Safeway Sanderson farms chicken? I am talking about boneless breast here.

I suppose there is no harm just popping it in the microwave right out of the freezer to defrost. I dont plan on investing alot in exotic range free chicken and usually just get the best deal.

Its just chicken.
post #2 of 21
Chicken breast is a versatile vehicle for many dishes, including the ones you have mentioned. So many ways to cook it, even if just cooked with mirepoix and turned into a chicken noodle soup....meat shredded and added back aafter straining the stock, noodles cooked and drained, heated thru shortly, beat an egg and stir thru off the heat, serve topped with some diagonally sliced spring onion tops :)

So many things to do with chicken!

Enjoy it :D
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #3 of 21
Kevin, next time you make chicken breasts do yourself a favor. Make half the dish using the skinless/boneless breasts and half with the bones and skin in place. Then taste the two. You will notice a difference, because the bones and skin contribute flavor, even if you subsequently discard them.

Also, from an economy standpoint, it pays to learn a few basic butchering skills. Why? Because the larger and least processed the piece you start with, the less expensive it is. A whole chicken, for instance, costs considerably less than one that's already been broken down for you. Bone-in breasts cost less than skinless/boneless. Etc.

And the fact is, breaking down a chicken is simple. You'll struggle along the first time. But after that you're home free. I can't think of much else with such a fast learning curve.

Meanwhile, to answer your question: Are there flavor differences between a free-range chicken and a factory-raised bird? You betcha! Are those differences worth the price differential? Only you can answer that.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #4 of 21
Sanderson Farm chickens are the worst ones I have ever used, They are over sized and tough and are usually a lead sale item in supermarket chains. They are sold here frosted or semi- frozen whichever termenology you like. Good for soup stock that's it.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

Trying whole breasts

Okay, I like KYs idea on the whole breast w/ bones and skin and am attempting that today on a Chicken Breast Malanzani recipe from the book "Boulder Cooks". I will dredge entire half breasts in flour brown then return for final cooking with skin and bones. The only thing that has me a little concerned is the fat under the skin but they say fat equals flavor.

I am also making my little brothers recipe for crispy polenta w grilled pears in gorgonzola cream and I may also try the candied garlic in the same book.

I will do some additional investigation prior to this endeavor as I want to get it right.

I am also going to get some new spices since most of my stuff has got to be over a year old.

Any information on this endeavor is always warmly appreciated. I will be firing up the stove in a couple hours.

I was surprised to find Salmon Bisque to be pretty tasty even though the salmon was from a can. It is amazing what a little cream will do.
post #6 of 21

"I am also making my little brothers recipe for crispy polenta w grilled pears in gorgonzola cream..."

kind of caught my eye. ;)

Any chance you could give us the recipe?

I'm not much of a sweets eater, but that sounds pretty good (and not very sweet, actually.)


travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

Scan okay

Am I allowed to scan a page out of a book to give the recipe? If not I will have to do it tonight when I have time as I have a 4 year old to watch and am making another recipe today after going to the store.

I will be glad to type it out however as others have spent alot ot time helping me.
post #8 of 21

Whether you type it or scan it, common courtesy dictates that you credit the author and/or book.

Also, if you should download a recipe from another site, the protocol here at Cheftalk is that you provide a link to it, rather than reposting it.

Just so you know.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

Bone in breast

So I am making the recipe today for the chicken and will use bone in breast w/ skin per KY. I may sound dumb but if I take apart the chicken per the videos, I have taken apart chicken several years ago but forgot, I end up with a breast w/o bones right. Should I leave the whole two side breast intact and remove the two halves before serving. The recipe is for 6 halves so I figure w/ two breast halves I can make a half recipe otherwise I end up buying three chickens to get 6 breasts or going with bone in breast which I did not see at the store today.

I like the idea of buying a whole bird at half the price and will make soup with the rest.

Thanks again.
post #10 of 21
Kevin, when breaking down a bird, you generall get 8 usable pieces.

Start by clipping the wing tips, and save them for stock. Then remove the wings by cutting around and through the ball joint.

Next, remove the legs. Cut through the loose skin and meat surrounding the ball joint on the carcass. Then separate the drumsticks from the thighs.

You're now left with a carcass that has the breasts on it. Using your shears (it's easier than a knife) cut away the back and exposed ribs. It's almost like following the dots. Save all of that for the stock pot.

You now have a complete breast on the bone. There are several ways to break them apart. I find it easiest to use my shears. Turn the breast meat side down and you'll see the curved bone they're attached to. Merely cut down the middle of that bone. In larger, and older, birds, you might have to score the bone first.

Hidden on that section is the keel bone, which runs the length of the breast and separates the two halves. More than likely, when you cut the breasts apart, you will run to one side or the other of the keel. Not a problem. You can leave it in place on the one half, or, now that it's visible, cut it away so the two halves are nearly identical.

On larger birds, I usually divide each breast as well, yielding ten pieces.

If you were looking for boneless breasts, go back to the point where the legs and wings have been removed. Using the keel bone as a guide, make a cut the length of the bird. Then remove the meat from the breastbone, just like fileting a fish.

After you do this once you'll see that it's actually easier to do than to describe.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #11 of 21
Just a minor suggestion beyond what KYHeirloomer has proposed.

To remove the legs, don't just start cutting. First, pick up the bird by the ankle. Where the leg meets the belly, you'll now see a sheet of skin that doesn't have anything behind it -- this will be obvious when you see it. Slash that skin across, i.e. perpendicular to the leg. The main carcass will now drop and you'll see the thigh joint. Set the chicken on its side with that same leg on top. Fold the knee and draw it up close to the wing (this basically means fully folding the leg joints in the way they naturally want to fold). Now bend the whole leg out and down, against the natural bending direction of the thigh joint. That joint will be completely exposed, and will crack sharply. Pull the leg down away from the carcass, cutting the one firm tendon that still holds at the joint, and the leg will come away clean.

That's a long explanation, but when you try it once it's not only very natural but quick: removing a leg cleanly should take literally just a couple of seconds. Lift, slash, fold, crack, cut-and-pull, done.

To separate drumstick and thigh, set the thing skin-side down. Right at the joint, you'll see a little yellow-white line of fat. That line almost exactly parallels the cleavage in the joint. Cut down along that fat, wiggling your knife a bit if it doesn't go in immediately. You should split the leg perfectly without multiple cuts if you do this.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for replies

Thank you both for the time you have taken to answer my question. I agree it is best to just buy a whole chicken. It makes sense that you get more flavor and the economics is good logic too.

I will be printing this post out and putting it in my cookbook to study and learn the basic skill. I know it is not rocket science but I would have gone through 10 google video clips trying to get the process down.
post #13 of 21
If you do go through 10 google and youtube clips, you'll find that there is very little agreement. The smoothest and cleanest you'll see anywhere is Jacques Pepin, who also explains what he's doing remarkably clearly.
post #14 of 21
While videos can help, Kevin, you don't have to bother with them. The best way of learning this is to jump in and do it.

You might butcher (no pun intended) the first one a little. But 1. you can eat your mistakes, so there's no loss, and 2. it's a very fast learning curve. After feeling your way through the first one you'll attack the second with great confidence.

What is it Nike says: Just do it!
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #15 of 21
I find that I learn a lot by just jumping in and doing it, then watching a video, then doing it another time, watching a video again, doing it again, etc etc... it seems the more you do it the more you can catch the little details in the video.

Any chance you could post a link (if you have it)? I tried searching YouTube but no luck - probably not using the right key words. Thanks!
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
I googled Pepin and chicken and it came up.
post #17 of 21
Unfortunately, no. If you search YouTube, and try "pepin chicken," you should turn up a video of Jacques deboning a chicken completely. He also does this on an episode of "Cooking In Concert" with Julia Child, which you can find if you dig around on the WGBH website, though it takes a bit of hunting (and in that episode, he does a chicken and then a whole turkey, which is pretty snazzy). But his basic "how to cut up a chicken" is not on YouTube or elsewhere online that I can find. Still, if you learn how to debone a chicken, you will find that cutting up a chicken becomes completely obvious, a no-brainer, because you know how the bird is put together.
post #18 of 21
Your Google-fu is better than mine. I just spent 15 minutes and didn't find it. Deboning, yes, but not cutting-up.

Unfortunately, his DVD "Complete Pepin" or whatever it's called is irritating as a video, albeit the techniques are generally pretty wonderful. It's on there, if you can find that at your local library or something.
post #19 of 21
I get a lot of pepin/chicken related links but no video that shows how to break down a chicken? If you have a link that would be great!

I have broken down a few chickens, not many. Probably about 10. I'm getting more familiar with how they're put together. I find I always learn from watching one technique or another, and make my own composite technique from what seems to make the most sense to me.

I'm now going to hunt for the complete deboning of the chicken. Just for fun. You never know.
post #20 of 21
Try YouTube. There's a video posted by "pepinfan". There's also one through, but it's a little faster and harder to see what he's doing.
post #21 of 21
I found it. Thanks! It's impressive how easy he makes it look.

YouTube - Pepin Debone Chicken Galantine Ballotine
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