Chicken is such a frequent addition to our weekly meal roster, loved for its versatility, nutritional qualities and ease of preparation. It’s a ubiquitous meat in many parts of the world – indeed, Australians each eat an average 47 kilograms of chicken a year. That’s a lot! However, it’s not too long ago that every chicken was a special occasion, perhaps a Sunday roast shared at a bustling family table, then the bones picked clean and used to make a stock.
I have a two-part project with this page, which I’ll be adding to frequently. My first aim is for us all to understand chicken a bit better. With that in mind, I’ll be sharing the grand old bird’s history and its place in various cultures around the world. I want us to know our way around the physical chicken, hence this carving primer. I also want to equip you all with great recipes to make the most of it in all kinds of meals.
Part two is a hope that all this information will help us to honour the chicken and its place in culinary culture. I think it’s sad to see a special occasion meal relegated to cheap protein, eaten unthinkingly in nuggets, wraps and the like. I would prefer we eat less chicken but better chicken, beautiful free-range slow-grown birds that we can cook and eat as though every bite matters – because it does.
Cutting Chicken Chat
Marty Dixon from John Cesters at Prahran Market is a chicken expert. I nabbed him for a series of videos, starting with this low-down on the break-down of a whole, fresh chicken. This introduction to butchery is all about understanding the structure of a chicken – with this knowledge and a sharp (though inexpensive) boning knife, you’ll be an expert chicken chopper in no time.