Turn One Chicken into Two Roasts: A Lesson In Deboning

5 years ago

Many generations of cooks have tried to solve the roast chicken dilemma. The flavor of that bronzed bird can't be beat, but the texture leaves much to be desired. Either the legs are bloody and chewy or the breast is tough and dry.

The solutions to this life's persistent problem abound: flip the chicken during cooking, brine it, butterfly it, use high heat, use low heat, etc. Some of these things do help, but never solve the problem completely. But here is a simple idea that does. In the following video, I turn a chicken into two roasts -- boneless breast roast and bone-in leg roast.

If you are doing this with store bought parts instead of a whole chicken, here is what to buy:

  • Whole bone-in, skin-on chicken legs
  • Whole chicken breast (not split—it should have all the breast meat from one chicken), bone-in, skin-on

The legs are easy—you can buy them anywhere. You can buy the bone-in whole breast at a store like Whole Foods or your local butcher. It doesn't have the wings, but that's fine. You can make the breast roast without the wings.

Ask the butcher at Whole Foods to take the center bone out for you, but keep the two breasts attached with the skin. Then your job becomes really easy. But it does help to be familiar with how to make these roasts from scratch so that you can instruct your butcher on what you want them to do.

As you'll see in the video, you'll want to salt the chicken, which will make the bird a bit wet and slippery after salting. Although I truss (tie up) the chicken right after salting in the video, I suggest you salt it, let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours, then dry and truss. The chicken will cooperate with trussing a lot better when it's not slippery. Salting in advance has another benefit of making it more succulent and evenly seasoned.

What do you do with these chickens after trussing? You roast them (I use a variation on the Zuni Cafe roast chicken).

Chicken Breast Roast

Breast Roast Recipe

Leg Roast

Leg Roast Recipe


Helen Rennie
Blog: Beyond Salmon
Classes: Helen's Kitchen Cooking School

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