A chicken breast with the initial joint of the wing still intact improves presentation while providing juicier flesh.
A chicken breast with the initial wing joint still attached is an airline chicken breast, also known as a Statler chicken breast or a chicken suprême. If I’m serving a whole chicken breast, I prefer airline breasts over boneless breasts, both for presentation (that bone sticking out just looks so cool) and for the juicier meat. Although bones do not add flavor to meat, they can help to moderate heat flow within the cooking breast, ensuring that the fattest part of the breast cooks more gently and evenly.
Any basic pan-seared chicken breast recipe should work with an airline chicken breast. However, you must cook it longer to account for the added heft.
While most butchers should be able to prepare airline breasts for you, doing it yourself is much more satisfying (not to mention cost-effective). Begin with a whole chicken and you’ll have a few extra wings, a full carcass, and two legs for future meals and stocks.
Here’s how you do it.
Step 1: Prep Your Station
Begin with a whole chicken, a sharp boning or chef’s knife, and a clean cutting board. Of course, that chicken is going to need some room to move.
Step 2: Stretch the Wing
The first step is to remove some of the wings, leaving only the first joint and the meaty part of the drumette attached. Then, extend the wing to expose the skin around the drumette.
Step 3: Cut to the bone
Place the boning knife’s tip near the center of the drumette and slice until it reaches the bone. The goal is to remove all the meat, skin, and tendons surrounding the bone.
The trick is to keep your knife in the same place while rotating the bird in a circle. This is far easier than shimmying your knife around in an uncomfortable rotation.
Rotate the chicken by twisting it with the wing in your grip until the bone is exposed.
Step 4: Take Off the Wing
Grab the wing tip flat in your hand and forcefully bend it backwards.
It should simply pop off, revealing a clean bone. Here’s an animated GIF of the procedure:
Step 5: Separate the Breast From the Breast Bone
Turn the bird over onto its back and slide your boning knife into the breast on one side of the breast bone, trying to stay as near to the bone as possible.
As you work your knife into the chicken breast, pull back until the sternum is exposed. As you continue to remove the breast, use only the tip of your knife with short, shallow strokes, letting your hand and gravity do most of the work.
Keep the knife tip as close to the bones as possible until the breast is fully released.
Step 6: Go Over the Joint
After you’ve removed the meat from the breast bone, the last thing you need to do is separate the wing bone from the carcass. Twist the wing until you find the joint, then cut through any strong tendons or other connective tissue keeping it in place with the point of your knife.
Lift the breast and wing joint together and slide your knife through to separate the entire cut from the remainder of the chicken.
Ready to Cook
You can now remove the tenderloin by pulling it away with your hands. I prefer keeping it intact to have a larger complete breast for serving. Your airplane chicken breast is now cooked. Now is a good time to warn your guests about how delicious dinner will be.
Learn more: Healthy and Easy Lunch Ideas for Work