I spent one recent afternoon perusing the offerings at the beautiful food shop Daylesford Organic. As I debated over which meat to roast for dinner, the charismatic butcher and I struck up a conversation. We talked about our mutual love of Sunday roasts. I confessed how frequently I made a whole chicken, but that the carcass and wings eluded me – there was always so much leftover slivers of meat stuck to the bone and it seemed like a waste!
Fascinated, I watched as he guided me through an impromptu lesson right there on the butcher’s block, teaching me how to make his signature “chicken lollipops” from the wings. In an attempt to reduce waste, my savvy butcher had innovated an appetizer that was a hit at parties, beloved by kids and adults alike! Secondly he recommended I carve the meat off the freshly roasted chicken to serve, then simmer the carcass to generate a batch of homemade bone broth for sipping and cooking through the week. The Hemsley sisters recommend this, too! I am smitten.
These are boneless wings in the shape of a lollipop. One bird yields up to four bite-sized pieces. They’re a great prelude to the main course and will take the edge off your guest’s hunger while they wait for the bird to be carved.
Both wings from a whole, free-range, organic chicken
1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper + paprika
kitchen tools: a boning knife, a bag, aluminum foil, baking sheet or dish
1. Rinse and thoroughly dry your whole chicken. Identify the shoulder joint of the chicken (it helps to move its arm a bit back and forth). Insert a boning knife into the middle of the joint, cutting the soft cartilage (between the bones) to separate the arm from the body at the shoulder.
2. Separate the upper arm from the lower arm at the elbow. Again, it helps to “bend” the elbow to see the joint action so you know where to carve. Set aside the lower arm (hand and forearm) for your broth. We will work with the upper arm.
3. With the largest bony end (the shoulder bone) facing upward, use your knife to cut away the white ligaments, any skin and connecting tissue in a perimeter around the bone. Slide the knife slightly up the bone to loosen the meat, exposing the bone itself.
4. Holding the the base of the bone in your left fist, squeeze your thumb and first finger together around the area that you exposed. With your right palm, press down on the meat-end as you continue to squeeze with your left first, which will “slip” the meat up the bone, and leave you with a mound of meat in the shape of a lollipop (or little tree). You can coax and shape the meat with your hand. Voila, a lollipop!
5. If you’re feeling confident, you may repeat these actions on the lower arm. It’s a bit trickier, because you must remove the tinier of the two bones so you are left with only one “lollipop stem.” Otherwise just reserve the lower arm sections to use in the bone broth.
6. Fill a small bag with your seasoning mix (I used an empty coffee bag I had saved, but a lunch sack, ziplock or plastic grocery bag will do). I listed a very basic one, but any seasoning you love will work – piri piri, herbs, get creative! Place the lollipops inside, and shake to coat.
7. Place the lollipops in a small baking dish or baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes (ideally alongside your whole roasting chicken). Devour while warm.