Chicken

Food Safety

 

Nobody wants to serve up salmonella as part of their chicken dinner menu, right?

Follow these tips for handling raw meat and preparing chicken safely, and your guests will be singing your praises as a gourmet chef and roasted chicken whisperer (and not a food poisoning guru).

 

The first step? Get yourself clean -- tie your hair back, take off any hand jewelry, and wash your hands.

 

Cross contamination: 

 

  • Choose a cutting board and knife for handling raw meat only -- don't use them to prepare anything else

  • Keep your raw meat station away from where you are prepping veggies and cooked meat

  • If you accidentally cross-contaminate raw meat with veggies or cooked meat, cook the food right away above 60°C (see below)

  • Wash your hands with hot soapy water every time you've handled raw meat and are about to touch something else

 

Danger Zone:

 

  • Bacteria grows best between 4-60°C, referred to as the Danger Zone

  • Do not store food, especially meat, in this zone for more than two hours -- cook above 60°, or refrigerate at/below 4°

  • Store raw meat in the fridge for up to 2 days, cooked meat for up to 4 days (check out this handy site for more storage times)

  • Freezing stops bacteria growth, but it does not kill bacteria. Also, remember that it still takes time for something to reach freezing temperature

  • When in doubt, chuck it out!

  • Always make sure to let food cool (within the 2 hours) before it goes in the fridge -- if you put it in while it's piping hot, it'll raise the temperature of everything in your fridge, likely into the danger zone

 

Cleanup:

 

  • Wash anything that's touched raw meat (your hands, cutting board, knife) in a separate sink apart from the rest of your dishes

  • Use a separate sponge or wash all the raw meat dishes last

  • If you have any raw meat bits stick to your cutting board, scrape them off or rinse with cold water -- hot water will cook the meat and make it impossible to get off

  • Use extremely hot water and bleach or dish soap

  • The sink is one of the germiest spots in your kitchen -- make sure to disinfect after the dishes are done

Why Buy Whole Chickens?

 

Buying chicken parts from the store can be convenient but definitely more expensive compared to a whole chicken.
Once you learn how to debone and roast a whole chicken, you'll save money and have tons of meat and stock in your fridge to enjoy for the week!

 

Where to Buy

 

Buy Low generously donated to us 10lb chickens that were local, hormone and antibiotic-free (not organic). They would be great and affordable for having a chicken in your fridge every week.

However, if your style is to eat less meat and occasionally splurge on an ethical bird, here are some places we recommend:

 

 

 

Do you expect me to eat a whole chicken by myself?

 

Not enough family members or roommates to finish a whole bird with you? Don't worry! Follow the steps below to debone a chicken, and you can throw extra parts in the freezer to take out anytime you want.

Defrosting tip: defrost frozen chicken in the fridge, or if you need it quick, in a bucket of cold water on your kitchen counter.

 

One more handy tip: all birds have the same body structure, so once you learn how to roast and debone a chicken, you can confidently do the same to turkeys, quails, pigeons -- whatever your taste!

 

Trussing

 

Trussing is essentially tying your whole bird up to ensure even cooking. All you need is some cotton twine!

 

  • The fast easy way: tie the ankles together with a double knot

  • The formal way: use 4-5 feet of twine, and tie it up and down and back around like in this video

 

If you want to infuse your bird with some tasty aromas, stuff the cavity with herbs, lemon, or any other seasoning before you start trussing.

Roasting

 

  • Place your bird on a bed of chopped veggies, such as celery, onion, carrot, tomatoes -- this will serve as a roasting rack so the bird is evenly cooked underneath, plus you can use the veggies later to make soup stock

  • Placce it breast side up for crispy breast skin

  • Use a meat thermometer and insert in thickest part of thigh

  • Food safety regulation: roast to 73.5°C

  • BUT if you take it out at 65°C it will be more moist and juicy -- plus remember that when you take it out of the oven, it'll keep cooking

  • If you don't have a thermometer, move your bird around -- the looser the joints are, the more done it is

  • Rest the bird for 15 minutes before carving, or no chicken juices for you!

 

The seasoning we used during our workshop:

 

  • Bird 1 -- simple salt and pepper

 

  • Bird 2 -- poultry spice blend (rosemary, thyme, sage, majoram, salt and pepper, nutmeg)

Deboning

 

Deboning is when you take a whole chicken and break it down into its parts: wings, legs (thigh & drumstick), breasts and the remaining carcass. This is useful for when you want to save some parts for the freezer.

 

It's also great for when you want to eat the whole bird, but you want to make sure every part is cooked perfectly. When roasting a chicken whole, wings and legs cook faster than breasts, and are overcooked by the time the breasts are done. By deboning, you can roast the parts at different times, and it all stays juicy and cooked right!

 

Go one step further and use your knife to take the bones out of the breasts and thighs, which makes for easy eating, or stuffing with tasty bits like cheese and herbs. This will take a bit of knife practice. We like the bone in though -- it's fun to eat with your hands!

 

Tools: any knife will do, but make sure it's sharp

 

Watch this video to see how it's all done, and remember these deboning tips:

 

  • Use the bones and cartilage as your guide, turning your knife as you go

  • Make small cuts and move the bird and parts around for ease 

  • Pop out joints in between the small cuts -- remember: Cut + Pop!

  • The spot between the breast and wing is a little tricky, so if you can't

       figure it out, eat them together (people call it the 'Chicken Supreme')

 

Carving

 

  • Make sure you use a different knife than the one you used to cut raw meat!

  • Guidelines to carving are the same as deboning a raw chicken, the bird is just stiffer now -- find the bones, make small cuts, pop joints out

  • Joints will be quite loose -- simply rip off the legs if you don't care about being fancy!

  • If you bought a small young bird, it will be more bloody and veiny -- this is normal

Chicken Stock

 

If there's any part of the chicken you don't want to eat (fat, skin, thigh/drumstick bones, carcass), save them for stock! 

Store it all in the freezer if you aren't making stock right away.

 

Here's how to make stock:

 

  • Pour all the juices and veggies from your roasting dish into a stock pot

  • Add water, herbs (ie. rosemary & thyme), salt & pepper, as well as saved veggie scraps like skin peels and tops

  • Squeeze in lemon juice to draw out the calcium from the bones, creating a super nutritious broth

  • Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 2 hours

  • Sift all the solid bits out and put in the city compost           (they process meat & bones at a high enough heat)

  • Cool and pour some into containers to freeze

  • Keep the rest in your fridge for up to a week

  • Or drink some hot healthy bone broth right away!

©2018 by The Food Connection. All rights reserved.

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