Male baby chicks won’t be going to the grinder anymore

Dylan Matthews for Vox – This is the best news for America’s animals in decades. It’s about baby chickens:

But ending chick culling has become possible recently due to technology. United Egg Producers says it will replace culling with “in-ovo egg sexing.” This is a process that can determine the sex of chicks before they develop inside their egg. That enables egg producers to terminate the male eggs and potentially use them to help make vaccines or for pet food (most humans would presumably be grossed out by cooking fertilized eggs). Horrific infanticides will be replaced with humane, painless chicken abortions.

Great news. No more grinding male baby chicks.

Cantonese poached chicken with ginger scallion oil dip

1 whole chicken*
1/2 cup salt (approx.)**

  1. Coat the whole chicken, inside and out, in a heavy layer of salt – whatever will stick. Place the chicken in a pot/bowl in the refrigerator, and leave overnight, or up to 24 hours.
  2. Rinse off the excess salt, and place the chicken in a pot. Fill up the pot with water, to cover the chicken.
  3. Bring the pot of water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. After 10 minutes, turn the heat off and leave the chicken in the pot on the stove for another 30 minutes, or up to an hour.
  4. Prepare a second pot large enough to hold the chicken with ice water, about half-way full. Place the hot chicken into the ice water, and fill with cold water to cover the chicken. Cover and place the pot in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour; several hours is better.
  5. When ready to serve, take the chicken out of the water, and debone or divide the meat up as you wish.

Notes:
* You can rinse the chicken off before you salt it if you wish, just make sure it’s drained well; you won’t need to dry it off completely. Also, if the neck is still attached, you can leave it on or cut it off, as you wish.
** I use kosher salt, but sea salt or table salt will work just fine.

  • I use two chopsticks stuck into the cavity of the chicken to lift it out of the hot water and into the cold. I try not to tear of the skin during this procedure.
  • Save the hot water as well as the cold, to make into stock/soup, to serve with the chicken. Mix both together, add in the bones from the cut up chicken, and boil for several hours. The stock will be salty (perhaps not salty enough, so feel free to add salt), and you can add any herbs to it as you wish for flavour.
  • You can also cook rice using the stock, along with the fat skimmed from the stock. This makes for a very chicken-y flavoured rice which goes really well with the chicken, as well as any other dish.
Ginger Scallion Oil

1/2 cup canola oil (or other neutral flavoured oil)
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 stalks green onion
1 tsp salt

  1. Heat the oil up in a pot/pan until it is shimmering, about 300°F.
  2. Mix together the grated ginger, green onion and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Carefully pour the hot oil over the mixture. The mixture will be boiled by the oil and some oil may spray out.

Notes:

  • This oil mixture can be drizzled on top of plain rice, for a quick snack.

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How to cut up a whole chicken

I find that knowledge of how to prep from basic ingredients (as basic as you can get, anyways) invaluable. It opens up a wider variety of recipe possibilities and can help in saving some money over buying prepared ingredients. One of those things is learning how to cut up a whole chicken.

I like buying whole chickens because we can get a few things from it; namely the meat, the bones and the skin/fat. The meat can then be prepared in whichever way you like. The bones are great for making stock (roasted or not, with veggies or not), and the fat is rendered from the skin. A favourite is also the leftover fried skin bits which can be salted after frying, kept in the fridge for 1-2 weeks and used as soup toppings much like bacon bits. (I sometimes just take a pinch of them to eat straight up, to get the taste of fried chicken.)

Jacques Pépin’s videos have been an invaluable resource for information on how to cook. Here’s his video on how to cut up a whole chicken.

Bonus – complete deboning of a whole chicken: