Day 18: Under-the-Skin Chicken


Breakfast (5 min): egg skillet with beet tops, mushrooms, and onions; latte

Lunch (5 min): spinach salad with cherry tomato, avocado, bell pepper, tuna (canned), carrot, pita bread, lemon juice, and oil

Dinner (30 min plus cook time): roasted herb chicken; sweet potato fries

Snacks: oatmeal with plantains and honey; apple

Without fail, every time I roast chicken I stuff seasoning under the skin. The presentation might look a little funky if there is a lot going on under there, but NOTHING beats the taste. I will stick anything under the skin: tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, herbed butter, goat cheese … I get pretty reckless.

The first time I tried an under-the-skin chicken, I remember being confused as to what that entailed. Therefore, I decided to post some pictures of the process in order to assist adventurous readers. The first step (not pictured) is to remove any pre-bagged organs from the cavity of the bird. You can save these for stock and pate. Next, rinse the bird under water and scrub it clean of any remaining feathers. This might sound weird to some readers, but when examining closely there tends to be small feathers remaining near the wings. Also, I peel off the yellow, plastic-looking skin located towards the end of the legs where the feet were once attached. I have a feeling I just turned a lot of readers off to buying chickens whole. I understand some people get very squeamish about working with whole animals rather than butchered and nicely packaged meat. In fact, I was a little timid myself, but now I do not think twice about cooking chickens. Even if you feel intimidated, it is worth a try or two. One the bird is cleaned, follow this under-the-skin series for fantastic flavor:

Place the chicken with its legs facing you (note: this bird is already stuffed). You will be inserting your seasoning where I am pointing.
Next, gently lift up the skin, trying not to rip it. Notice there is a thin white film attaching the skin to the meat. Poke your finger through this membrane on both sides of the bone. This picture shows both sides already poked and the membrane still attached in the center, which is what you want.
You will then have two nice holes to insert your desired seasonings. This bird is simply stuffed with herbs.
Work the seasoning towards the neck of the bird and even down the leg (see where I am pointing) to maximize flavor throughout the chicken. This can be accomplished by pushing with your finger underneath the skin or rubbing on top.

That is it! All you have to do now is bake it. I usually cook it at 400 F for the first 30 min, then turn it down to 375 F until it is done (usually 30 more min). Sometimes the skin starts to over-brown before the bird is done. In this case I will cover it with aluminum foil. If I can keep my husband from devouring the bird when it comes out of the oven, I will let it rest for about 20 min to retain juices and allow it to reach the perfect temperature. After that, we both travel to the land of NOM.



  1. It would definitely compromise the flavor. However, once chicken is roasted, it is really easy to pick the skin off before eating. You do not have to eat the skin, but it is a good idea to leave it on during roasting so the meat does not dry out.

Please share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s