Hen party: there is more to the humble chicken than meets the eye /

Deconstructing a chicken with precise incisions can save money and result in yum leftover bits to make outstanding stock for soup or gravy

Jointing a chicken, or breaking it down into six to eight pieces, is a skill that is often overlooked, as the pieces are so easy to buy ready-prepared. However, buying a whole chicken and jointing it yourself is simple, quick, and much more cost-effective. You are left with the added bonus of chicken wings and the fresh carcass, perfect for the base of a chicken soup or roast chicken gravy. 

1. Remove any innards and giblets from inside the chicken, and reserve. Pull away the skin at the neck of the chicken. Using a sharp knife, cut a triangle through the flesh to reveal the wishbone and pull it out. 



2. Pull the wings away from the breast and cut down through the joints to remove. 



3. Pull the legs away from the body and cut down through the joints to remove. 



4. Turn the legs over and cut through the thigh joint to separate the pieces into thighs and drumsticks. 



5. Cut all along each side of the breast bone and then downwards skimming the ribcage to separate the breast meat from the bone. When you reach the bone at the bottom, either tear the piece of breast meat off, or cut through the bone with a large knife or strong kitchen scissors. 



6. You should now have 8 pieces of chicken. 


‘The Skills: How to become an expert chef in your own kitchen’ by Monica Galetti (Quadrille, £20) Photography © Cristian Barnett