If you want to wow your guests with something that’s totally unexpected, a whole deboned chicken stuffed with something yummy is the way to do it.
However, before you get started on this dish, it’s important to know that the prep takes about 2 hours if you haven’t done it before. For that reason, I encourage you to stuff two chickens at a time. When you’re done, you can put one of your stuffed chickens in the freezer – I vacuum seal mine. With a frozen bird you will still get the amazing results without all the work!
With that warning out of the way, let’s dive into how to make this incredibly yummy dish.
A Little Background on My Experiences Deboning Chickens
The first time I tried deboning a chicken was about 10 years prior to writing this. I was making a pate’ from Julia Child’s famous Mastering the Art of French Cooking in my parent’s kitchen. It included a deboned chicken stuffed with a bunch of ground meat and wrapped in a pastry. What I thought was a simple afternoon of inspired cooking turned into an all-day-nearly-all-night marathon.
We all raved about the finished project but I was a little frustrated by the length of the cooking experience. Therefore, I didn’t come back to a deboned chicken until about a year ago.
Inspiration for deboning and stuffing a chicken this time came from a turducken, that odd cajun concoction of a deboned turkey, stuffed with a deboned chicken stuffed with a deboned duck. I had been considering buying one but then ran across its less expensive, and probably just as good, stuffed chicken.
I though, yep, I can make that! So over the course of the next two weeks I deboned and stuffed four whole chickens and learned a little along the way.
Why and How Do You Debone a Chicken?
For me, deboning a chicken elevates a plain yet delicious roast chicken into an event-level dish. But it has other benefits. First, you can generally get more stuffing into a deboned chicken. Second, a properly cooked deboned chicken stays moist because of its direct access to the stuffing.
Deboning a chicken takes patience, a good filet knife, and a bowl for the discarded bones and cartilage, which can be used to make a chicken stock.
I start by placing the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board. I then make a lengthwise slice down the middle of the back. You have to be careful here, making sure the sharp of your knife is always cutting at an angle against the bone of the bird.
Some people prefer to start deboning on the breast side, but I like to cook my deboned chicken breast side down, so it stays moist. With the breast side down, the cut side will facing up and won’t spill stuffing or juices.
Instead of telling you how to do all the components of this, watch this video and come back to us for the next step. Just make sure anything you cut off ends up in your discard bowl so you can use it as a stock base!
Now that you’ve deboned your chicken, or chickens, it’s time for stuffing.
Why Did You Add a Fresh Truffle?
A few days before I made this I happened upon some fresh truffles at my local farmer’s market here in Ashland, OR. They chatty frenchman selling them showed me how to store a fresh truffle in the refrigerator. He suggested I place the fresh truffle, a few eggs and a cup and a half of rice in an airtight bowl and place it in the refrigerator. This keeps the truffle fresh and perfumes the rice and eggs at the same time.
Knowing that I would have some truffle-scented rice I decided to make my stuffing with the truffle in mind. So I wanted to keep it simple so the delicate truffle flavor would find its way throughout the dish.
Making the Stuffing for the Stuffed Deboned Chicken
First, I cooked the rice in chicken stock for about 30 minutes. (Refrain from washing the rice first if you’ve perfumed it in truffle or you will wash off the magic.) I used the same amount of chicken stock as rice because I wanted the rice al dente so it would soak up juices as it cooked in the chicken.
Then I sauteed some onion and fresh sliced mushrooms in butter with a little dry thyme. I added a splash of dry white wine and let it cook off and finished the saute with a little salt and pepper.
Finally, I combined the rice, the onion and mushroom mixture, a can of washed and drained white beans, about half a cup of grated parmesan, and about a half cup of cream. I finished this mixture with a half of a grated truffle – I used a microplane grater – and more salt and pepper to taste.
This mixture should be wet but not watery. If there’s excess liquid, simply drain it off.
How to Stuff a Deboned Chicken
Take the deboned chicken and lay it skin side down on a clean cutting board. Spoon about half the stuffing mixture over the entire bird and even try to stuff some into the cavities where the thigh bones, leg bones, and wing bones used to be.
Roll each side of the chicken up so the skin meets at the top and then truss it – can you hear my evil laugh here? Since I’m trying to learn as much as I can while writing for this website I tried to truss it using the method in this video, with some success. You can simply cut shorter lengths of cotton butcher string and tie them individually, which is something I’ve done for years with roasts and I won’t judge you!
Some of the stuffing will fall out as you do this. Save it for the second bird or, you can simply save any remaining and cook it in the same oven as the bird, but only for about an hour. Top it with some parmesan.
Pay Attention to the Temps When Roasting the Stuffed Chicken
Once you’ve finished trussing the bird, season it liberally all over with salt and pepper then place it on a slotted roasting pan breast side down.
I cooked mine for 2 hours total. The first hour was at 325 degrees to get everything up to temperature. For the second hour, I turned the oven up to 375 degrees so the skin would get crispy. You might be able to finish this in 90 minutes, but a good rule of thumb is to cook it when the center of the chicken stuffing reaches 165 degrees.
Take the stuffed chicken out of the oven, let it rest 10 minutes, and then slice and serve.
The bird turned out nearly perfectly, with both juicy dark meat and breast meat and a luxurious, rich stuffing full of flavor. And, it left the whole kitchen smelling like truffle, which caused a lot of questions about when dinner would be ready.
Whole Deboned Chicken Stuffed with Rice, Mushrooms, White Beans, and Truffle
- Good filet knife
- Roasting pan
- Saucepan for cooking rice
- Cotton butcher string (for trussing stuffed chicken)
- Saute pan for cooking mushrooms and onion
- 1 7-8 lb Whole chicken Yep, get a big bird. Or better yet, get 2.
- 1½ cups Rice
- 1½ cups Chicken Broth
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1 can White beans, washed and drained
- ¼ cup Onion, diced
- 1 lb Mushrooms
- 1 tsp Dry rubbed thyme
- ½ cup Heavy cream
- 1 cup Grated parmesan cheese
- ½ oz Black truffle (optional)
Cook the rice
- Add chicken stock, butter, rice and a pinch of salt to saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove lid, fluff rice with spoon and let sit, uncovered while you proceed to next step.
Saute mushrooms and onion
- In a saute pan on medium heat, add a tbsp of butter and cook until frothing stops.
- Add mushrooms and cook. They will soak up the oil then release it and mushroom liquid. Wait until the liquid cooks off. This takes about 7-10 minutes.
- Add onions to mushroom mixture and cook until light brown. Stir frequently so onions don't burn.
- Add splash of white wine and cook until most of the wine cooks off.
- Add cooked rice, cooked mushrooms and onions, beans, cream, half of the parmesan, and thyme to large mixing bowl and combine.
- Optional - Add grated fresh truffle to the mixture if you have it. I use a microplane grater.
- Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Make sure to taste this until you really like it. This is going to flavor your chicken!
Debone and stuff chicken
- Heat Oven to 325°
- I've linked to a video on how to debone a chicken. If you have not done it before, leave yourself 30-45 minutes for this step. If you can, do two of them as you will have enough stuffing for at least 2 birds. I debone the chicken from the back so I can cook the bird breast down.
- Stuff the deboned chicken with as much stuffing as it will hold, including into the holes for the legs and wing.
- Truss the chicken with cotton butcher string. Again, I've linked to a video in the main story so you can learn how to do this. It will take some practice but don't worry about being perfect. Neither the chicken nor the oven will care.
Cook the chicken and leftover stuffing
- Place trussed and stuffed chicken on to roasting pan and roast for about 1½-2 hours, until thermometer read 165° when inserted into thickest part of bird. I like to cook it at 325° to start, then turn it up to 375° until it's done so the skin gets crispier.
- If you have leftover stuffing, feel free to add it to an appropriate sized casserole dish, top it with remaining grated parmesan and cook in the same oven as the chicken for about 45 minutes.
- While everything is cooking, clean up the kitchen, or get someone else to do it. This will make you happy because otherwise your stack of pans, bowls, and dishes will be monstrous.
- When a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 165°, remove chicken from oven and let rest about 10 minutes. Slice and serve with any leftover cooked stuffing.
- Take a deep breath and enjoy. You did it!