The Bookery Cook recently took a trip to the home of quality meats to learn how to bone and stuff a chicken.
Bernie, local butcher (of Barracks Butchery and Rosalie Butchery notability), and generous supporter of TheBookery Cook, kindly offered to learn us how prepare a rolled chicken – bone it, stuff it and secure it ready for the roasting.
We had been trying to set up the boning session for weeks, and when we went to visit Bernie and he showed us the boning knives he had brought in preparation, we locked a date in.We were instructed to each flex our stuffing-making muscles for the occasion.
None of us had made stuffing before. And, although we had instructions to do one cheese-based, one fruit-based and one offal or other meat-based, we girled out and made 3 variations on a fruit/nut theme (recipes below).
We were greeted by a cheery Bernie… “Ok girls are you ready to get down and dirty with a chicken?”
But not before we sampled some of the offerings of the home of quality meats – some ham off the bone with ham jam.
And not before we had a glass of bubbly at hand.
Champagne courtesy of our good friends at the Stewarts bottle shop at the Barracks (check it out for best wine, service and advice in town).
Before long, we were set up behind the counter, boning knife in one hand, champagne in the other, at our chopping boards. Chickens (free range) were dispersed.
Some general steps to consider:
• use the tip of the knife to separate the flesh from the bones
• try to remove the bones with as little flesh on as possible
• keep bones for stock (these can be stored in the freezer until you need them)
HOW TO BONE A CHICKEN
1. Place chicken, breast-side up, on a cutting board. Cut down the centre of the backbone
2. Separate leg and wing joints
Feel free to turn it around if this is easier
3. Cut along ribcage until you hit cartilage – repeat on both sides
4. Scrape down wishbone, cut down from wishbone to breastbone
5. Pull cage from breast
6. Cut the wings off at the joints
7. Holding leg bone from the flesh side, cut through tendons and scrape meat from bone using knife. Pull out bone
8. Deboned chicken is now read for stuffing.
Maxie, who started off backwards, came out on top for technique (and was offered a job – 12c/ chicken for those in production lines for the chickens you get at your local supermarket).
If you have a neatly boned chicken, with skin relatively intact:
If you lack bone-removing dexterity and your chicken looks more disfigured than necessary, it is best to employ the PVC pipe technique:
This step was prefaced by Bernie – “If you lose the chicken down there you’re going in after it”
Bernie insists that a boning a rabbit is next. Or a leg of lamb. We are a little nervous as he said that last time he taught a couple of guys to bone a leg of lamb, they brought a carton of beer with them, polished it off within the first few stages, went and bought another carton, and finished most of it… while their girlfriends sat outside and drank 4 bottles of wine between them. This upstaged our couple of bottles of champange!
Stuffing #1: Brown rice stuffing
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tsp butter
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3 tblsp minced parsley
2 tblsp orange juice
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp salt
1 tblsp lemon juice
2 tblsp honey
Lightly toast the walnuts in butter.
In a medium-size bowl, combine the rice, parsley, walnuts, orange juice, and lemon rind, drizzle honey over the top and mix until combined.
Stuffing #2: Moroccan cous cous stuffing
1 tablespoon Butter
1 Red chill w/ seeds
1 red capsicum diced
100g pine nuts, toasted
I tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Ground Coriander
300ml Chicken Stock
280g Cous Cous
1 tbslp Olive Oil
Add oil in a small pan on medium heat and slowly brown the onions and capsicum until soft. Add spices and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Stir though chillis and set aside.
Bring stock to boil and add cous cous, remove from heat and cover for 5 minutes. Stir through butter and let cool for 10 minutes forking it from time to time to stop clumping. Add the pine nuts and spiced vegetable mix to the couscous and mix together.
Stuffing #3: Pistachio, apricot & lemon
4 shallots, chopped
1/2 preserved lemon, flesh removed and chopped
1 tblsp grated lemon zest
3/4 cup coriander
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
1/2 tsp cumin
3/4 cup dried apricots, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes then chopped (discard water)
1/2 cup parmesan
2/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp ground coriander
2 tbslp lemon juice
Combine all ingredients together and mix well.
Home then to cook the beasts. Luckily we were entertaining good friends from Bristol. With wine at hand we dined on the fruits of our labour.