Ok, I really don't know if this is the best way to go about halving a chicken. But it was the first time I had ever done it and it worked just fine, see? But I'm getting ahead of myself. My girlfriend came home with a roaster and I got to thinking. I realized that a whole chicken was a bit much for just the two of us and even though we use all the leftovers, it's never quite the same as it is when freshly cooked. So, why not cut it in half, freeze one and cook the other? Why not, indeed?
I had recently read this post over at Girlichef about breaking down a chicken, so I figured I would just do what she did and stop when I had two halves. I figured out a couple things while doing it, one little trick and one fact. The fact? The inside of a chicken is gross. It's full of some kind of weird spooge and I don't know what it is. I assume it's a chicken fluid that... solidifies or something after it gets slaughtered. We aren't going to talk about it anymore and I'm not going to show you any pictures of it. I'll tell you about the trick when the post catches up to it. So, grab a chicken, some kitchen shears and lets do this thing.
First, you need to get a plastic freezer bag (unless you're making stock soon, then don't worry about freezing it. You are making stock with the chicken bits, right?). You need this for bits that you want to keep to make stock from. From now on it will be referred to as the stock sack. Toss the giblets and neck in there, they are good stock stuff. Now trim the tips off the wings. I've found the tips brown too quickly and turn into nasty little black lumps. You don't have to do this, it's a personal preference thing. Next trim off the tail bit. This is just a big chunk of fat, for the most part, and you really don't need it. Toss it in the stock sack. Plus it shows you just where the spine is. That's the trick I was talking about earlier. Hope it wasn't too anticlimactic. Now just snip next to it all along the length of the spine. The snapping bones wig out at least one person that I'm aware of, but it didn't bother me too much, thankfully. Heh. First one side, then the other. Toss the spine in the stock sack, there's some good stuff in there. Now you've got this. You want to flip it over and cut it along the breast bone. A big ass knife is the best (I'm told), but I had already dirtied up my shears so I figured I would soldier on with them. I know, I know, it's one of those chickens. The ones with the "let's over cook it" pop up dealies. I actually like them because that way I only over cook it a little, instead of a lot like I do when I try to take the temperature myself. I'm terrible at that for some reason. But once you cut through it you're all set. Two halves. It looks better like this. Of course, now we need to cook it. I decided to keep it pretty simple. I put the half chicken in my ten inch, stainless steel stir fry pan. I figured this would help hold it together and also make the juices pool underneath it, since it didn't quite touch the bottom, and help keep it moist (it did). I minced half a shallot, a couple cloves of garlic, a couple tablespoons of fresh basil, salt, pepper and olive oil and mixed it all together. Well, I didn't mince the oil, salt and pepper, but you know what I mean. I stuffed all that under the skin, then just drizzled some more olive oil on the outside and sprinkled it with a bit more salt and pepper. Then I roasted it at 375 until it was done. Yes, I waited for the dealie to pop up. And it was fine, I swear! Only the white meat was a little dry, but the juices that pooled up in the bottom of the pan fixed that up just fine when I spooned them over it. In fact, it was fantastic. Rich chicken flavor with nice shallot, garlic and basil overtones. I'm going to be making chicken like this over and over. So, how would you cook a half a chicken?