Nearly two months into the new year, we've been good — eating boneless, skinless chicken to help control calories, fat and portion size. But man, oh man, we're often left craving flavor. Especially when company's coming. So let's take a look at the meat counter once more and consider old-fashioned chicken on the bone. For flavor, appearance, price and variety, it can't be beat.
Think about chicken wings. The skin and bones make them delectable, with tons of moisture and meaty flavor. The same rings true for chicken breasts. Seriously. In addition, skin and bones help prevent overcooking and subsequent dryness. An added bonus: Bone-in chicken tends to be lower in price per pound than the more processed boneless versions. Simply plan an additional ounce or two per serving to account for the bones.
As a nation, we've demanded so much boneless, skinless chicken breast that now we have a hard time finding chicken breasts on the bone. Scoop them up when they're available. At home, trim off any rib bones and extra pockets of fat. Wrap them individually in plastic and then put into a freezer bag to freeze, up to three months or so. You'll find chicken on the bone with the skin freezes better than the super-lean boneless skinless options.
Belinda Jeffery, a cookbook author from New South Wales, calls a whole chicken leg (often partly deboned) a chicken "chop." Great idea when you think about it — in an odd way the whole leg does resemble a chop. Good sell to the kids too. Look for small chicken leg "quarters" in the meat counter or order them from the butcher. If you're grilling the "chops," leave the skin on to prevent dryness. If you're brining or marinating the legs, the skin can be removed if desired. Try marinating them in a yogurt-ginger-garlic mixture for tandoori version. In this recipe for chicken breasts on the bone, a simple glaze made from honey and balsamic vinegar beautifully bronzes the skin while flavoring the meat. Add small potatoes to the roasting pan to soak up the flavors. This qualifies as company fare any time of year.
As with any meat cooking, employ a few safety precautions:
Clean all surfaces well that have been exposed to raw chicken; don't let kitchen tools that have touched raw chicken touch the cooked meat.
Always marinate in the refrigerator; put leftovers away shortly after cooking.
Honey balsamic glazed chicken and potatoes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
For even more flavor, marinate the chicken in about 1/4 cup of the honey mixture in a zippered food bag in the refrigerator up to 1 day. This also works well with boneless skinless chicken. Simply reduce cooking time by about half.
4 chicken breast halves on the bone with skin
1 pound small yellow potatoes, cut in half
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon walnut oil or olive oil
Bone up on chicken
Forget boneless cuts if it's flavor and moistness you are after
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