Removing the tendon from a chicken tender, also known as the chicken tenderloin, can often be a bit tricky and tedious, especially for those who are not very experienced in the kitchen. However, with a simple kitchen trick, this task can become effortless, allowing you to prepare your chicken tenders quickly and efficiently. This guide will walk you through a straightforward method to remove the tendon from a chicken tender in one swift motion.
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The Problem with the Tendon
The tendon in a chicken tender is a tough, sinewy piece that can be unpleasant to eat. It runs down the length of the tenderloin, attaching it to the chicken breast. When cooked, the tendon can become even tougher, which is why many chefs and home cooks prefer to remove it before cooking. While it’s a small part of the chicken, removing the tendon can significantly improve the texture and eating experience of your chicken dishes.
The Tool You Need
All you need for this trick is a pair of kitchen tongs and a sturdy surface to work on. Some people also use a paper towel to get a better grip on the tendon, but it’s not strictly necessary.
Step-by-Step Guide to Removing the Tendon
- Prepare the Chicken Tender: Start by laying the chicken tender flat on a cutting board. You’ll notice the tendon running along one side of the tenderloin. It’s usually white and very noticeable.
- Grab the Tendon: Using the kitchen tongs, grasp the end of the tendon that’s closest to the narrower end of the chicken tender. If you’re having trouble gripping the tendon with the tongs alone, you can use a paper towel to hold onto it. This will give you extra grip and make it easier to pull.
- Stabilize the Chicken Tender: With your other hand, hold the chicken tender in place on the cutting board. You can apply slight pressure to keep it from moving but be careful not to press too hard, as this can damage the meat.
- Pull the Tendon: With a firm grip on the tendon, pull it upwards and away from the chicken tender. You should do this in one smooth motion. The goal is to pull the tendon out completely, leaving the tenderloin intact. Sometimes, the tendon will slide out easily, but other times, you may need to apply a bit more force.
- Repeat if Necessary: If the tendon breaks while you’re pulling it, simply grab the remaining piece with the tongs and repeat the process until the entire tendon is removed.
Tips for Success
- Make sure your kitchen tongs are clean and have a good grip. This will make it much easier to hold onto the tendon.
- If the tendon is particularly slippery, chilling the chicken tenders in the fridge for a bit before attempting to remove the tendon can make the process easier.
- Practice makes perfect. If you don’t get it right the first time, keep trying. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to remove tendons quickly and easily.
Why This Trick Is Useful
This kitchen trick is invaluable for anyone looking to prepare chicken tenders that are tender and free of tough, chewy bits. It’s especially useful for recipes where the texture of the chicken is paramount, such as chicken salads, tenders, or any dish where the chicken is served without heavy sauces or breading that might disguise the texture of the tendon.
Removing the tendon from chicken tenders might seem like a small step, but it’s details like these that can elevate your cooking from good to great. By following this simple method, you can ensure that your chicken dishes are always delicious and enjoyable to eat, free from the unpleasant texture of cooked tendons. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice cook, mastering small but impactful techniques like this one can make a big difference in the kitchen.