The de-boning of the chicken is probably more complex than I can explain with pictures. So here’s a video with Chef Pepin showing you how to do it. I’m pretty sure the guy could bend pennies with his hands. Don’t be too intimidated though. My first attempt took a bit of time and I had to re-watch parts of the video below. By the time I used his technique on my second chicken, things went very smoothly. The other good news, I did a reasonably good enough job on both that I was proud to serve them to friends.
I decided to roast my chickens, forgoing the traditional poaching method; I’m a sucker for crispy chicken skin. The result was pretty fantastic. I brought this to feed a group of fairly picky friends. Everyone loved it, everyone grabbed seconds. Thogg, who usually hates kale said the kale was really good. I even had one friend, who is a self-admitted kale hater, say this preparation made the kale edible. I guess I’ll take that as high praise since I know his wife cooks really good kale and he never eats it. I’ve had the pleasure of eating at least two really great kale dishes that she’s prepared.
The other nice thing about this recipe is that the baked chickens were very moist. The kale stuffing kept the breast from drying out and imparted extra flavor. Serving the cooked chickens up was a breeze. I simply snipped off the butcher’s twine, and then sliced the galantine into inch thick medallions. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the finished product, which is a shame because it was a beautiful presentation. The remedy to this was to cook it again, just for the pictures. Poor me, huh?
- 2 small whole chicken, deboned using the technique in the video above
- sauteed kale stuffing (click here for recipe)
- salt and pepper
- lemon pepper in a grinder (I get mine from TJ’s) – optional
- butcher twine
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with a few pinches of kosher salt and pepper. Next, stuff your chicken with the kale stuffing (one full kale recipe is enough for two small chickens). If you like, you can use another stuffing of your choice. Just remember, as Chef Pepin says, if you use something with bread or grains, the stuffing will swell, so leave some room. If you use my kale stuffing, you don’t have to worry about swelling.
- Close the chicken using twine, using the technique seen in the video, remember to overlap the skin of the back just a bit when closing it.
- Rub the skin with a little olive oil and then use a grinder to crack some salt, dried lemon skin and black pepper (I use Trader Joes lemon pepper grinder, which is all natural) all over the breast and back. You can use just kosher salt and ground pepper if you prefer.
- Place your chickens, breast side down, on a roasting rack large enough to leave some room between the two birds. Place this rack into a roasting pan, uncovered. I found that a turkey roasting pan held both birds well. Find a shelf in the oven so that there is enough clearance on both the bottom and the top to leave several inches between the pan and either of the heating elements.
- Roast the chickens, breast side down, for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Flip them to breasts up and then roast for another 20 minutes. Use a meat thermometer placed into the thickest part of the breast to make sure that the temperature has reached between 165 to 180 degrees.
- Let your chickens rest, lightly covered, for at least 10 minutes. If you skip this step, your chickens will be less juicy when you serve them. Snip off the twine and the remaining joint in the chickens’ ankles and then, using a very sharp knife, slice the rest into uniform inch thick medallions.
- Dig in.