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Boning poultry or joints seem to take a great deal of time and effort, is it really worth it?

The great advantage of boned meat or poultry is first that it is much easier to carve and second that it goes much farther. For example, a 1.5 kg chicken with stuffing will serve six to eight people. When you are catering for large numbers, boned poultry is especially useful.

Although boning poultry for the first time can be daunting, it becomes much easier with practice. And you don't have to do it all at once; if you like, do the boning in stages - just cover the bird loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it each time you have a break. People with little experience of boning will probably find it easier and quicker to deal with a leg of lamb, as there are only three large bones to remove.

Boning meat or poultry enables you to use delicious stuffing, which keeps the meat moist during cooking. For chicken, try a stuffing of ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, with black olives, basil and pine nuts - all bound together with egg. Or mix pistachio nuts and chopped dried apricots with chicken livers and fresh white breadcrumbs, also bound together with egg.

Turkey takes particularly well to a sausage-meat stuffing. For a traditional stuffing, add chopped mint, parsley, sage and thyme to the sausage meat. For a spicier version, add caramelized onion, sultanas, a pinch of cayenne pepper and some ground cumin. Duck and goose harmonize well with fruit, and citrus fruit in particular cuts through the fattiness. A small grain, such as burghul or couscous, makes a good stuffing base to which you can add a little orange juice, a few sliced kumquats and ginger, along with some chopped red onion.

A boned leg of lamb can be enriched by an Arabian stuffing of apricots, burghul, nuts and oranges.

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