Carving question

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Carving question

Postby Ratatouille » December 27th, 2018, 2:08 pm

I am serving a caponised guinea fowl ie quite large and plump, on New Year's Day. It is to serve 6. I want to plate the main course and I am pondering how best to deal with the beast . The recipe suggesta portioning it rather than slicing it. How would you attack it ?
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Re: Carving question

Postby suffolk » December 27th, 2018, 5:25 pm

Could it be carved like a chicken ?
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Re: Carving question

Postby patpoyntz » December 27th, 2018, 5:37 pm

If the breasts are very thick, then I’d probably do them as I do turkey, which is to take each breast off whole, then slice it across in slices of a centimetre or so, which I think keeps then moister than carving thin slices. I saw J Oliver doing it this way, a few years ago, and always, even for a plump chicken, do it this way now.
Obviously your Guinea fowl are much bigger than the ones I get here, and I am quite jealous, but sometimes I just take each breast off, and slice diagonally into 2 then arrange them on the plate like tv chefs!
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Re: Carving question

Postby Ratatouille » December 28th, 2018, 1:58 pm

The breasts aren't as thick as they would be on a capon and the total weight in just under 2kgs. I wish it had three legs!!!
What I am thinking is to cut off the whole leggs and divide into drumstick and thigh then cut off the 2 supremes witth the wing portion. Then remove the breasts and divide those into 3 each so everyone gets a boned piece and a piece of breast.Am I correct that you can't get caponised anything in the UK these days ?
IMind you I have only seen caponised GF a couple of times.
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Re: Carving question

Postby suffolk » December 28th, 2018, 2:36 pm

The old skills of physically castrating birds have died out (pretty barbaric anyway as cockerels’ testes are internal) and hormonal castration is banned on health grounds (our health :shock: ). I’d assumed the law applied across the EU? Poultry misleadingly sold as ‘capons’ in the UK are fattened large breed ‘entire’ cockerels. No idea about ‘caponised’ GF :-/
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Re: Carving question

Postby Ratatouille » January 1st, 2019, 4:51 pm

The guinea fowl was lovely and divided neatly into 8 portions. As 2 guest dropped out - before the meal I haste to add, we have some left for tomorrow.
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Re: Carving question

Postby miss mouse » January 1st, 2019, 7:48 pm

Ratatouille wrote:As 2 guest dropped out - before the meal I haste to add


Phew re 'before the meal'.
I am glad it went well. I am sure that it was wonderful.
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Re: Carving question

Postby StokeySue » January 2nd, 2019, 9:22 am

My understanding originally was that caponising wasn’t banned as such, but required a vet to do it rather than allowing farm workers to do it

The UK enactment seems to have been more strict about the level of input from the vet - they are of course allowed to have supervised assistants. It’s no longer economic to do it
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Re: Carving question

Postby suffolk » January 2nd, 2019, 11:28 am

StokeySue wrote:My understanding originally was that caponising wasn’t banned as such, but required a vet to do it rather than allowing farm workers to do it

The UK enactment seems to have been more strict about the level of input from the vet - they are of course allowed to have supervised assistants. It’s no longer economic to do it


I’m presuming that’s the physical castration rather than the chemical/hormonal?
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Re: Carving question

Postby StokeySue » January 2nd, 2019, 12:36 pm

Hormonal castration is actually banned in the EU / UK and has been a long time though there used to be occasional reports of such birds turning up in the supply chain, haven’t heard of any in years

I think the order was the hormones were banned so capons were again made surgically, intrinsically more expensive of course, then people looked at how the surgery was done and thought Yuk and Ouch and brought in regulation

This is from memory, I did look it up properly some time ago
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Re: Carving question

Postby miss mouse » January 2nd, 2019, 12:55 pm

Very interesting. I vaguely remember the hormone castrating being brought to public attention, and as said already, being banned and capons vanishing from the UK shops.
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Re: Carving question

Postby Lokelani » January 2nd, 2019, 1:24 pm

Does anyone know why it was done in the first place, was it something to do with the flavour of the meat? Or just to make them easier to keep & quieter whilst growing old enough for the table. :lol:
I just wonder because for a few years MIL bought very large chickens (or maybe capons) from the local butcher for Xmas instead of turkey. I found the meat had a slightly metallic taste compared to usual chicken.
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Re: Carving question

Postby suffolk » January 2nd, 2019, 1:38 pm

Castrated birds and animals put on weight more quickly than entire animals ... that’s why it was done ... it also avoided the cockerels fighting amongst themselves as they reached maturity . Nowadays the Cobb type breeds of poultry grow and fatten up much more quickly than the more traditional breeds so they are plump and ready for the table before they reach sexual maturity so they are on our tables before they reach the age at which they’d fight for dominance.

The metallic taste was probably down to whatever the poultry was being fed on ... some poultry and other animal feed contains a lot of fish meal and this can flavour the meat ... it should be swapped for a different feed for a period before slaughter so the meat isn’t tainted but some small scale producers might be tempted to leave it too late in order to maximise growth as of course they’ll be paid by weight.

Always good to report any taint to the butcher where you bought the poultry ... he can then choose his suppliers in an informed way rather than based on promises.
Last edited by suffolk on January 4th, 2019, 6:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Carving question

Postby Ratatouille » January 2nd, 2019, 1:42 pm

It is said to make them plumper and more succulent. This was absolutely evident with yesterday's guinea fowl and with the chapons and poulardes (the female version) we have cooked and eaten in the past. I am quite sure none has been chemically "arranged". I will have the discussion with our tame butcher next week.
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Re: Carving question

Postby StokeySue » January 2nd, 2019, 2:46 pm

When we used to buy capons they ran to 7 or 8 lb if I remember rightly, so they were a useful size, between a big chicken and a small turkey, and more tender and moist than a turkey.
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Re: Carving question

Postby suffolk » January 2nd, 2019, 4:04 pm

This is the sort of bird I buy nowadays for a Christmas roast for a small family meal https://www.farmerschoice.co.uk/butcher ... JskS5.dpbs
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Re: Carving question

Postby earthmaiden » January 2nd, 2019, 4:53 pm

I don't think I have seen those (possibly due to not looking!). In both our and then ex OH's family we always had capon at Christmas and it provided a good many meals. It was only when they disappeared that we had turkey. I will look out for the large chickens - I like chicken best.
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Re: Carving question

Postby suffolk » January 2nd, 2019, 6:35 pm

Some butchers still call them capons ... most call them cockerels ... usually available from a good butcher for Christmas.
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Re: Carving question

Postby Seatallan » January 3rd, 2019, 12:56 pm

We had one for our Xmas dinner this year and it was lovely. :chops:
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Re: Carving question

Postby suffolk » January 3rd, 2019, 1:17 pm

I much prefer a fattened cockerel to a turkey. We had a free range turkey this year at DS’s request ... it was fine, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I have done cockerels in the past. :hi5:
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Re: Carving question

Postby Lokelani » January 3rd, 2019, 7:43 pm

That's really interesting, I knew some of you would know. Thank you. :D
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