Thursday 21 June 2007

Removing the Wishbone....

Poultry suffers from a severe design-fault, in the form of the Wishbone. Whether spit roast, oven roast or pot roast, when it comes to carving the bird, the process always involves a feat of manual dexterity which is both time-consuming and fiddly, and generally involves a lot more meat being left attached to the bone than is necessary. The solution is to remove the wishbone while the bird is still raw - thereafter, once the bird is cooked, you can either make clean slices from the breast as you would normally, or else remove the breasts in one go and slice them on a board. It sounds like a minor difference, but the first time I saw a de-wishboned chicken being carved I was deeply impressed. Suddenly, the task is clean, efficient and quick....

The process of removing the Wishbone:

1. Stand the bird on its rump end, push the skin covering the neck cavity aside and locate the V shaped wishbone with your fingers.

2. Using the tip of a small sharp knife, score the flesh either side of the middle of one branch of the bone until you can grip it with your finger tips. Use the tip of the knife to free the 'top of the V' end from the carcase. It is attached to the skeleton with a little bit of cartilage. If you put the tip of you knife into the join and twist, it will come free.

3. Work on the other branch in the same way.

4. Gently holding both branches - be careful they snap easily - work the tip of the knife towards the base of the V until you can free the whole wishbone. This sounds more complicated than it is. With a bit of practice the whole process only takes a couple of minutes.

5. When you come to carve you have two choices. You can make long cuts parallel to the back bone in the classic way or you can remove the entire breast from the carcase by cutting along one side of the breastbone and running the knife along the ribcage until the whole breast can be removed. This can then be thinly sliced on a board like a grilled breast. (The latter method is definitely better for Duck, if you like your bird on the pink side). Whichever method you choose you will find it much easier without the wishbone getting in your way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this tip. It helped me understand why some Cook's Illustrated recipes say to remove the wishbone before roasting.