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How to Butterfly a Chicken Breast

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Ever wonder why the chicken dishes you order at a restaurant often look much bigger than what you make at home? Is it more food? Not always. So what's the trick? It's simple. It's a process called butterflying, and you can do it, too.

What To Do:

Butterflying is basically a butcher's technique for splitting food horizontally, without cutting all the way through, then opening it up like the wings of a butterfly.

Why would we want to butterfly our food? The most common reason is so our food will cook evenly in about half the usual time, since it's not as thick as usual.

Howard shows you how we butterfly chicken breasts in the Test Kitchen in this how-to video. You can use the same technique to butterfly pork tenderloin, thick steaks, even shrimp. And if a recipe calls for stuffing a particular food, butterflying it allows you to do just that.

Here are tips for butterflying any kind of meat:

  • Beginning with the thicker side of the food, hold a sharp knife parallel to the cutting surface, and slice the food almost completely in half, stopping about 1/4 inch from the opposite side.
  • The food will easily open up. Pat down the new surface to make it flat, and it should look like a butterfly (and should also look a lot bigger than when you started). That's it!

Now that you know the trick to butterflying food, give it a try, and show off your fancy cooking skills. After all, it gives you more reasons to have fun in the kitchen, easily preparing all sorts of..."OOH IT'S SO GOOD!!"


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