The whole bird … why buying a whole chook is a great idea


Did you know that for a little more than the price of two chicken breasts, you can buy a whole chicken? And with a few well-placed cuts, you can joint that chicken into 8 pieces ready for a delicious casserole?  Chicken casserole for family of 4 for under $20, anyone?  Read on to find out how.

In these days of high costs of living and mortgage pressure, we are all looking to stretch our budget further but still provide our families with nutritious locally sourced food.
Enter the whole Tasmanian chicken!  Whether you choose a Nichols Poultry or Marion Bay Free Range chicken you know you are buying a high animal welfare, ethically raised and sustainable product, at a really good price – about $6.95 a kilo (so approximately $10.50 per bird, depending on the weight).

How to cut a chicken into 8 pieces
First, find a sharp boning or carving knife, kitchen shears if you have them, and a large stable cutting board. 
Remove the legs and thighs by making a cut between the main body and the leg and thigh and popping the joint out. Turn the bird over and follow the natural bone structure of the bird to trim the leg and thigh away.
Cut through the middle joint of the leg to separate into thigh and drumstick.
Cut down either side of the backbone with kitchen shears and open the chicken out. Retain the backbone and freeze it for stock.
Turn skin side up and press down to flatten. Cut lengthways through the breastbone, and then cut each breast in half on a slight diagonal, leaving the wing attached to the top half. Alternatively leave each breast whole and remove the wings by finding the joint between the breast and the wing and cutting through it.
We love this video from BBC Good Food which makes it all really simple.

Favourite ways to use chicken pieces
A jointed chicken lends itself to casseroles and slow-cooked braises.  A $10.50 chicken plus a few potatoes, veggies, and herbs, all slow cooked in some chicken stock for a few hours and then a handful of green beans added in the last 5 minutes, is a delicious, economical winter meal for the whole family.  Make it on the weekend and you’ll have leftovers for Monday night.
If you want to splash out, grab a bottle of Tasmanian sauvignon blanc and try this wonderful recipe for coq au vin from the Hill Street recipe collection.
A jointed chicken is also great for a weeknight tray bake with potatoes, vegetables, and herbs, plus a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes, seasoned and drizzled with olive oil – it will cook in about 40 minutes while you 

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