Day 14: The World’s Most Popular Bird

The most experience I have trussing or butchering a chicken is…none. The most hands on I’ve gotten with poultry is watching my Dad make the turkey dance on Thanksgiving morning. Yes, I’ve roasted a chicken before, but that doesn’t involve hacking up its carcass.

Chef Laura trussing a chicken

I’ve noticed an immediate weakness in myself when I’m faced with any type of raw protein: I’m scared to make that first cut. It’s already been butchered—I just don’t want to do it again. A mangled chicken breast or fish fillet will guarantee an angry executive chef. But my timid knife slices always cost me minutes, and it’s something I need to work on.

The first rule in quartering a whole chicken is to remove the wishbone. With your knife, you can fish it out so it’s easier to remove the rest of the flesh. Flip the bird over to remove the thighs, and you’ll be searching for the oysters—or the fleshy, tender ovals of meat found on the middle of the carcass. Forget to dig these out, and you’ll be chastised.

Reiley removing the wishbone

With our trussed chicken, we poached it in a Mediterranean broth that was spiked with spices like turmeric and saffron. Then with our quartered chicken, we pan seared it and made a flambé sauce. And in this case, pictures definitely trump my description:

Shikha battling flames

Andrea isn’t even phased

I missed the fireball on this one

TIP OF THE DAY: Always truss your chicken if you’re stuffing it. It’ll help hold it inside the bird.

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