Nothing is more unsightly and unappetizing than a portion of chicken
with the bones chopped at all sorts of angles, and with splinters of
bone in the meat. All bones will separate easily at the joint when the
cord or tendon and gristly portion connecting them have been cut.
After the chicken has been singed and wiped, and the crop removed from
the end of the neck, place it in front of you with the breast up and the
neck at the left. With a small sharp knife make an incision in the thin
skin between the inside of the legs and the body. Cut through the skin
only, down toward the right side of the leg, and then on the left. Bend
the leg over toward you, and you will see where the flesh joins the body
and also where the joint is, for the bone will move in the joint. Cut
through the flesh close to the body, first on the right of the joint and
then on the left, and as you bend the leg over,
cut the cord and
gristle in the joint, and this will free the leg from the body. Find the
joint in the leg and divide it neatly. Work the wing until you see where
the joint is, then cut through the flesh on the shoulder, bend the wing
up and cut down through the gristle and cord. Make a straight clean cut,
leaving no jagged edges. Divide the wing in the joint, and then remove
the leg and wing from the opposite side, and divide in the same way.
Make an incision in the skin near the vent, cut through the membrane
lying between the breast and the tail down to the backbone on each side,
remove the entrails, and break off the backbone just below the ribs.
Separate the side-bones from the back by cutting close to the backbone
from one end to the other on each side. This is a little difficult to
do; and in your first experiment it would be better not to divide it
until after boiling it, as it separates more easily after the connecting
gristle has been softened by cooking. Take off the neck close to the
back by cutting through the flesh and twisting or wringing it until the
bone is disjointed.
Cut off the wish-bone in a slanting direction from the front of the
breast-bone down to the shoulder on each side. Cut through the cartilage
between the end of the collar-bone and the breast. Cut between the end
of the shoulder-blade and the back down toward the wing-joint, turn the
blade over toward the neck, and cut through the joint.
This joint in the wing, collar-bone, and shoulder-Page 30blade is the hardest
to separate. Remove the breast from the back by cutting through the
cartilage connecting the ribs; this can be seen from the inside. The
breast should be left whole and the bone removed after stewing; but if
the chicken is to be fried you may remove the bone first.
It is not necessary in boiling a chicken to divide it so minutely, for
the wings and legs can be disjointed, and the side-bones and breast
separated from the back more easily after cooking; but it is valuable
practice, and if one learns to do it neatly it will help in carving a
boiled fowl or roast turkey.
In arranging a fricasseed chicken on the platter, put the neck and ribs
at the left end of the dish and the backbone at the right end. Put the
breast over the ribs, arrange the wings on each side of the breast, the
second joints next to the side-bones, and cross the ends of the
drumsticks over the tail.