I think it happened in the 1980’s. Somehow chicken breasts with bones and skin became passé. The thought process was boneless skinless chicken breasts had fewer calories and were convenient. For a long time I went along with that trend. I mean, who isn’t watching their calories and looking for convenience? The problem was the chicken had no flavor. For years I boiled chicken in a pot of water seasoned with onion and celery. The chicken ended up flavorless and dry (how does a chicken breast swimming in an ocean of broth end up dry?). To remedy the dry chicken problem I shredded the chicken then soaked it in chicken broth overnight before making soup or chicken salad. The chicken became wet but still lacked flavor. Too much work for a poor result.
Next, rotisserie chicken came into vogue. Recipes using rotisserie chicken were commonplace. The problem with rotisserie chicken is that it comes in a variety of flavors from garlic, paprika, lemon, rosemary, honey, and barbeque. You get the picture… a lot of flavor choices and none of them taste like chicken. I really don’t want my chicken salad to taste like garlic or my chicken pot pie to taste like paprika. So I went back to the basics. Skin on, bone in, split chicken breasts baked in the oven. I am embarrassed to say I didn’t figure this out sooner! I cook the breasts in the oven while I am preparing the rest of the ingredients for my recipe. By the time the ingredients are prepared the chicken is ready to be shredded or cut. If I am short on time I roast chicken in advance keeping it in the refrigerator.
Roasted Chicken Breasts
For soup, casseroles, chicken salad and other recipes calling for cooked chicken.
2 to 3 skin on, bone in, split chicken breasts- 2.75 to 3.0 pounds total weight
1 to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place chicken breasts on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub skin with 1/2 teaspoon oil per breast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165 F. Remove from oven, cool briefly. Remove skin and bones. Discard. Shred or cut chicken into desired size pieces. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.
Tip: Save the fat and juices that render from roasting chicken to make make gravy or use as a flavor booster in soup.
Published in The News and Neighbor on January 14, 2015