Back in the 1980s, chicken went through a Dolly Parton-esque transformation–it became all breast. Not only that, it lost its skin and bones. Not to mention its thighs, legs, wings and backs.
Chicken became nothing but boneless skinless breasts (bsb). Now there’s nothing wrong with white meat which is, of course, the only part of the chicken acceptable for chicken salad. But we became so used to boneless skinless breasts that we forgot about the rest of the bird.
With no fat to give moisture and no bone to give flavor, the boneless skinless breast is easily cooked to the point of sawdust. So often as not it gets marinated in oil, sauteed in butter or covered with cheese. And that pretty much defeats the low-fat purpose of buying it in the first place, right?
So I’m here to say bring back the rest of the chicken.
For one thing, a package of what my mother calls second joints (leg and thigh in one piece) costs way less than the equivilant amount of b.s.b. A whole chicken–3 or 4 pounds–costs pennies. And you have the leftovers to make homemade stock.
I’ve read that roasting the perfect chicken is how chefs truly gauge each other. I like to rub a little olive oil on the skin, stuff the cavity with halved lemons, garlic and lots of fresh rosemany and sprinkle lemon pepper over all surfaces. Your kitchen will smell like the best restaurant in town. Serve that with some risotto and you’ve got a truly wonderful meal.
Next time you’re at the store, take another look in the poultry department. You don’t have to eat the skin…and if you cook the chicken on a rack, all the fat will drip to the bottom of the pan.
Just try it…