I don’t know how often you go looking for bone-in whole chicken breasts (not “split,” mind you), but there are times when they are tough to come by. Speaking of tough…they can sometimes come out a bit dry when they are baked. Some people swear by the cooking upside down method to prevent them from drying out. However, there is an even better technique to prevent that from happening. You rub 2 tablespoons of butter under the skin.
I’m giving you a basic recipe here for whole roasted chicken breasts, but there are several suggestions at the end for seasoning them. When I cook them for the family, as you can imagine, I make two. One is for the kids because their palates are not adventurous. The other is for the adults.
2 1-1/2 lb whole chicken breasts
2 tbsp butter, softened
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Wash the chicken breasts and pat dry. Place them in a baking dish, skin side up. Loosen the skin carefully by putting your fingers under the skin to lift it from the breast meat. The idea here is not to tear it.
Mix the thyme and rosemary with a dash of salt. Carefully put it under both sides of the breast with your fingers. Once the butter is under the skin, you can use the back side of a spoon to spread the butter evenly.
Rub olive oil on top of the skin, and sprinkle more salt and fresh ground black pepper on top. The olive oil will brown the skin nicely.
Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove from oven, carve and place on a serving tray. These come out so moist and tender that carving is a breeze.
Alternative Under-the-Skin Seasonings
There are other things you can mix with the butter for different flavors, such as:
Rosemary, Garlic (chopped) and Lemon Zest
Sage and Porcini Mushrooms (chopped)
Sun-Dried Tomatoes (cut in strips) Oregano, and Kalamata Olives (chopped)
Chopped Onions and Red Curry Paste
The combinations are endless. Use your imagination!