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Old 01-21-2005, 12:07 AM   #11
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I've found that kitchen shears are really helpful in this situation.

Place the bird on a cutting board, breast down. Insert the shears into either the neck hole or the other hole. Use your fingers to find the backbone, and cut through the ribs/pelvis just to the side of the backbone, all the way to the other hole. Repeat this to completely remove the backbone, saving the backbone for stock. Lay the bird on the breast, skin-side down. Using both hands, press open the bird so that it lays flat. Using a heavy knife or cleaver, cut through the keel bone in the breast. You may have to use the shears (for the life of me, I can't remember if you have to cut the pelvis a second time, as well. It's been awhile since I did this on my own). You should now have half a chicken, breast, wing, thigh, and leg. Using a Chef's knife, cut the breast/wing section away from the thigh/leg section. You chicken is now quartered.
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Old 01-21-2005, 11:39 AM   #12
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I know that we're beyond when you were planning this, but Claire the Practical will chme in here. When "butchering" a chicken, pay attention to you hands, and how cold they are. Rinse your hands under warm-to-hot water often. In my experience, you often cut your fingers simply because your hands become so cold that you honestly don't really know where the knife is and where your other hand is. It sounds stupid, but it happnens a lot. Once your hands are that cold, which they wil be if you're doing it safely, you need to make sure you are using all the safety methods that everyone here tells you about.
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Old 01-21-2005, 11:57 AM   #13
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hmmm, i guess i'm backwards. i take off the legs and wings first, then cut the carcass in half.

good point claire about cold hands. my worst cuts were when my hands were freezing.
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Old 01-24-2005, 10:06 AM   #14
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I did it!

Thanks to all of your tutelage, I had no problem quartering my chicken (GB, I still want to have that butcher field trip, though!). Sharp kitchen scissors were the key. However whoever said that it's hard to tell where your fingers are when they're very cold is right--I have the band-aid to prove it! :roll:

The coq au vin turned out very well. I used a very standard--albeit poorly written--recipe. Next time I'll be sure to brown the chicken at a higher temp (recipe said to cook for a couple minutes on each side. I didn't realize until too late that I should have browned) and add a little more garlic. Over all, it was a wonderful, extremely rich dish for a cold snowy night.
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