Roast Chicken Tip

This post is part of an ongoing series I call Quick Bites. It’s where I capture random thoughts and share shorter posts. Enjoy!

When it comes to chicken, we are a divided household. I prefer dark meat, but my partner only eats white breast meat. I think the flavor is much improved when cooking bone-in, skin-on cuts, but my partner prefers his white meat boneless and skinless. What’s a well intentioned cook to do?

My approach to meeting both of our tastes has been to simply roast a whole chicken. The white breast meat is then easily trimmed off for my partner, and I can chow down on the legs and all the crispy skin I care to indulge in. Anything that doesn’t get eaten I then save in the freezer to make chicken stock.

It’s a pretty efficient system, but I wasn’t completely satisfied. Any spice or rub that I had applied to the outside of the chicken was completely wasted once my partner trimmed and discarded the skin from his white meat. It’s really a minor thing, but unless I put the chicken in a liquid marinade, it was like we were eating two different meals. Mine would be robust and flavorful, while his trimmed white meat was still sort of plain – a mere shadow of what I had intended.

So, my mind was totally blown the first time I made Nik Sharma’s Hot Green Chutney Roasted Chicken. He writes that, “The trick is to keep the sauce between the skin and the flesh, because the layer of fat in the skin helps the chicken retain its moisture while the flavors in the marinade (green chutney, in this case) penetrate the flesh.” OF COURSE! EUREKA!

Maybe this is an obvious approach? Maybe you already do this? If that’s the case, I have been living under a rock apparently. I just hadn’t heard it mentioned prior to reading Season.

It’s very simple technique. I just use my fingers or a small paring knife to lift the skin from the muscle. And once I can fit a couple of fingers inside the pocket, I continue to loosen from the inside as I rub the spice mixture around.

I’ve been using this technique with pretty much every roast chicken recipe I make at this point, and it has made such a difference. Now, every cut of the chicken is flavored evenly, with or without the crispy skin. If you also struggle with cooking chicken to please different tastes and preferences, I highly recommend giving this little tip a try! It’s also handy if you’re making chicken for a dinner party, as well.

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