Dress Up Your Chicken

Boneless chicken legs are perfect when you want to serve something a bit more elegant than your standard baked chicken. But at $6.99 or more a pound they can be a bit pricey for those on a budget. We’ve got the answer for you — of course — debone your own! Boning chicken legs is simple and allows you to enjoy this tasty cut in many recipes.

Be sure to use your sharpest straight-edged knife with a pointed tip as you follow our easy instructions. You can prepare boneless chicken legs with or without the skin. If you plan to remove the skin, begin by cutting through the skin and meat right at the end of the leg bone or drumstick. Slice all the way around the flesh and pull off the skin.

Place the chicken on your work surface with the meaty side down. Make a small cut at the wide end of the thigh and open the incision you just made. You should feel the hip socket “pop” when you push the thigh bone out. Slice down the underside of the thigh bone. Open up the meat around the bone and make an incision along its entire length. Follow that with a cut on both sides of the bone. You don’t need to go too deep and you can use your fingers to work around the bone once the cuts are made.

Now, slip the tip of your knife behind the bone and run it down until you hit the joint, releasing the meat entirely from the bone. Slice down to the leg bone or drumstick.  Open up the meat around the bone and slice down each side, freeing it from the bone. Once again, run the tip of your knife behind the bone until you hit the joint.

Pull the bones out of the meat and slice under the joint, cutting off any residual cartilage. Now is the time to trim all the excess fat off the meat too. Don’t worry if the resulting piece is a bit misshapen, it will roll up into a nice neat package.

Once you have them done you can stuff and freeze the chicken raw. The capons will be ready to bake before or on Yom Tov for an elegant main dish.

 Boneless Chicken with Pastrami Stuffing

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 onions, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 sleeve Snackers crackers, crushed

1 tablespoon canola oil

3 slices pastrami shredded

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

10 boneless chicken legs, skin on

1 1/2 cups duck sauce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil. Sauté onions and celery until golden. Add crackers, pastrami, oil and spices. Mix until well combined. Place stuffing in the center of deboned chicken. Roll up and tuck ends under. Place in baking pan. Pour duck sauce over chicken and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

 Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Sauté onion and mushrooms until tender.  Add parsley and stir. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add salt and pepper to taste. 


Pastrami Wrapped Boneless Chicken Bottoms

2 tbsp canola oil

1 medium onion (finely chopped)

6 ounces mushrooms (chopped)

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

kosher salt and black pepper

6 boneless skinless chicken legs

12 slices pastrami


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide stuffing among the 6 chicken legs and roll up each one to make a neat package. Carefully wrap each piece of chicken with 2 slices of pastrami, securing with a toothpick if needed.  Place on a deep baking pan. Bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on thickness of rolls. Remove from oven and allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

Readers may submit questions to the Culinary Connoisseur, c/o Hamodia, 207 Foster Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11230 or via e-mail to peppermill@hamodia.com. This weekly column has been brought to you by The Peppermill, the world’s first kosher kitchenware store, located at 5015 16th Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. (718) 871-4022. You can also read a selection of previous columns in their comprehensive cookbook, The Culinary Connoisseur, available now at your local Judaica and kitchenware stores. Jam-packed with delicious recipes, insightful food information and helpful cooking tips, this book is certain to become your constant companion in the kitchen.