Today I got to spend a couple hours in the Cookology kitchen. I received several gift certificates to Cookology for Christmas and this is the first in the series. This class starts with a whole chicken and breaks it down from there. There were only 4 in the class so it was nice to get some quality time with the instructor. Here’s what we started with.
I wasn’t able to get pictures at every step because my hands were often covered in chicken and didn’t think I should put my hands into my pocket to pull out my phone. We started by making a cut across each leg to open it up. Then we picked up the chicken by the legs, gave it the ol’ chicken wing move, breaking the leg bone from the body. It makes it easier to cut them off when the bones are broken. Since the leg bone is connected to the thigh bone, you break that connection and perform another cut to separate the thigh from the leg. Now it’s time for the (chicken) breasts. Cut along each side of the breast bone and keep cutting along the bone (and down) until the breasts are free. The wings come off with it, so then you cut the wings free.
Once all the parts were free we cut up and sauteed vegetables (celery, carrot, onion), added the chicken carcass and covered it all with water to make our own stock. Bring that to a boil and let simmer for a long time.
We then prepared the chicken in 4 different ways: sauteed, pan fried, deep fried, and baked. I learned today that the different between saute, pan fry, and deep fry is just the amount of oil being used, from least to greatest.
We seasoned all the parts with salt, pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper. The breasts were sauteed briefly on each side and then put in the oven. They were so moist and flavorful when they came out.
One wing and one leg we coated with egg and flour and deep fried. I didn’t realize they had to cook so long in the oil (~25 min). You know they’re done when they float to the top.
The other wing and leg we pan-fried (1 inch of oil).
The thighs we covered in our homemade curry paste and also sauteed and baked. I had no idea that curry paste was just a few dry seasonings + oil. It was so easy, yet so good.
At the end of all this, we strained our chicken stock and were left with pan full of goodness.
I came home with a box full of cooked chicken and a container of stock. I sampled each one while I was in the kitchen and they were all great. I think I’ll be buying whole chickens now. It’s cheaper and you get all the various parts to play with. Give it a try some time!