There may be quite a bit of over lap between the whole bird posts thus far, but bear with me. There's some fun stuff ahead. Again I must advocate buying whole animals for all the free stuff! And its wallet friendly. Sam and I get at least four full meals out of every bird depending on the poundage. Whole chickens are almost the cheapest way to purchase this animal, second only to bone-in, skin-on thighs. The most money per pound is the SKINLESS BREAST. Which is easily the most over-cookable, and least flavorful of the bunch. When you buy parts, you also get parts that are processed by blind drunk people, and they're usually mutilated. Do a little butchering yourself, you'll get more bang for your buck, and you'll feel the weight of eating an animal. Or maybe you won't. I'll try to be less preachy, but I think as a species we should be more connected to our food and where it comes from.
Let's begin. Get your cutting board anchored, a place to stash parts, a sharp boning knife, and a knife steel. There's a million ways to breakdown a chicken. I picked this one because I wanted the skin to remain in tact for a recipe.
So! We have our parts. Here's what I plan on doing with my bird:
- Chicken and liver sausage
- Chicken and liver ballottine
- Roasted bone stock
- Grilled chicken breast salad (not pictured but you can figure it out)
- Stuffed manicotti
Chicken sausage blend:
- 15 oz chicken meat ( legs, and 1 breast)
- 3 oz chicken livers, cleaned
- 5 oz pork belly trim ( 90% fat)
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 T chopped thyme
- 1/2 T pink peppercorns
- 1 T salt
- 1/4 clove
- 1 t ginger
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1/4 allspice
- 1/2 c panko
- 1/2 c milk
- Cube and freeze meat. 30-45 minutes.
- Freeze die, and blade from meat grinder.
- Make spice kit (see above spices/ salt)
- Mix panade: mix milk and panko. Let sit for 5-10.
- Grind frozen chicken, then liver, then pork fat.
- Mix in spice kit, shallot, garlic, and panade.
- Let blend for 2 hours.
While I was making my sausage, I roasted the bones and got my overnight stock ready. See the duck post for directions. You can always reserve the roasted bones in the freezer for future double batches should you not have time. As for the extra livers and pork trim, I must admit I save everything. It sure comes in handy for projects like this! Save everything. Parm rinds, bones, veggie scraps. Just be a diligent label-er.
Once my sausage had time to meld, I stuffed the skin and rolled up a ballotine. A ballotine is a boned bird, stuffed with meat parts, forcemeat or a combo. I cooked the ballotine in the immersion circulator, and then crisped up the skin in a hot pan. I did mine at 64 degrees celcius for 2 hours. I had leftover sausage. It's so delicious. The liver really gives it outstanding richness, pork fat doesn't hurt neither.
With the remaining sausage, I made some stuffed manicotti. Why you ask? Seems a little out of character? Well I presently ran out of eggs for fresh pasta, and manicotti shells were on super sale. Forgive me. We also had most of a head of cauliflower that needed using, and a ton of milk and cheese on hand. Forgive me, but I made a cauliflower mornay sauce. And it was DOPE. I usually turn my nose up at such things, but I really worked on this and it was amazing with the chicken and liver stuffed pasta. I also felt less bad since I wasn't eating gallons of heavy cream. Sometimes you just have to clear the fridge and prepare for the weekend markets. Also waste not, save money, make dope food.