Airline Chicken Breast (Enhanced) – Food Wishes
100 Comments


hello this is chef john from food wishes
comma with airline chicken that’s where i come fly with me let’s fly let’s fly
away back to a time when traveling on an airplane was considered a very special
experience and the ladies wore dresses in the men wore suits and ties and
people would smoke cigarettes and drink cocktails the whole way oh it was quite
the scene in this airplane wing shape chicken breast was one of the most
popular menu items from that era but unfortunately it’s pretty much been lost
in time which is why i’m so excited to show you how to do this here and to get
started what we’re gonna need is at least one whole chicken this is ready to
use airline breasts are almost impossible to find in the store these
days before we actually create our airline breasts we’re gonna do two
things first we’re gonna remove half the wing by cutting through that joint where
the flat part of the wing meets the drum at and then we’re also very carefully
gonna cut through the skin between the thigh and the breast all right be
careful not to slice into the meat but we’re just slicing between that skin
that separates them to make this next step a little easier and by the way I
should mention if you’re gonna do this you may want to look through some of our
chicken thigh and chicken leg recipes since you’re definitely gonna have those
left over and ready to use and then what we’ll do once a little bit of that
initial preps been done is take our finger and find the breastbone that
divides the two breasts which is kind of easy to see since it’s directly in the
middle but even easier to feel and once identify what we’ll do is slide our
knife directly on top of that but as we do our knifes can actually slide along
one side or the other and then what we’ll do once we’ve cut a little bit on
either side of that bone and we’ve basically identified where the breast
starts we will slowly but surely slice that breast off the carcass by keeping
our knife flat against the carcass whether that’s the breast bone now or
eventually the ribcage and we’ll use mostly the tip in the first few inches
of our knife and by the way the biggest challenge for me here is not to block
the camera and to figure out which angle you can see this best at but bottom line
as long as you keep your blade pressed against the bone and not slicing into
the meat you’re doing it right and what we can do when we get to about here is
go ahead and cut through more of that skin that’s holding that thigh in the
bottom of that breast together all right so hopefully you can get a pretty good
look here what’s going on on the side in the back of the chicken
but let me go ahead and stop here and let me turn this around so you can see
how we’re gonna trim it off the front and as I just described you want to make
sure we keep our blade right against the bone in this case the wishbone okay can
you see that let’s keep the tip of our knife right there and we’ll continue
cutting off the front of the breast all the way down to the bottom and
theoretically at this point the only thing holding that breast and wing on to
the carcass is one ball and socket joint which should be pretty easy to see and
feel and then somehow some way with the tip of our knife we will find that joint
and we’ll cut right through that cartilage and that’s it congratulations
you just created an airline chicken breast and we could go ahead and use
that as is and any and all of our favorite chicken breast recipes but wait
there’s more I’m gonna show you a technique for enhancing this breast
using the tenderloin from the other side or chicken finger or chicken fillets
it’s referred to so we’ll go ahead and remove that little strip of meat either
by pulling or trimming with our knife and then what we’ll do if need be
sometimes there’s a little bit of connective tissue attached to one of the
ends and well it’s not a big deal that can be a little tough so I’ll usually
take a few seconds to trim that out if necessary otherwise just leave it no big
deal and once they’ve been removed and trimmed we’ll go ahead and season these
up with a little bit of olive oil as well as some kosher salt and freshly
ground black pepper and then in my case a little bit of herb de Provence and
it’s probably super obvious but I’ll tell you anyway this techniques gonna
work with any and all of your favorite spices so please please use whatever you
want I’m you are after all the Michael Buble of how to flavor your chicken
filet so not only do you not have to use what I used I don’t even think I want
you to all right come up with your own thing speaking of which I forgot the
Cayenne so I stopped and added some but anyway we’re gonna do is season these up
and then believe it or not we’re actually gonna stuff these under the
skin oh yeah you heard me what we’ll do once those are set is take our finger
and gently but firmly push that under the skin right next to the wing bone and
you’ll see we’ll easily separate and then we’ll do is slide our highly
seasoned chicken tenderloin under the skin and by the way if there’s a big
around I like that end to go in first because that will match up with us
smaller end of the breast and then once it’s in there we’ll make sure it’s
nicely centered and I’ll press down and smooth out nicely and then we’ll go
ahead and do the same thing to the other breast and basically my idea here is
that we’re taking a little piece it off and dries out when we cook it anyway and
by using it under the breast not only is that gonna stay moister
but as this cooks because that skins a little bit stretched out I think even
more fat renders out and it gets a little bit crispier so I believe this
little bonus technique has more than one advantage and that’s it once we’ve
successfully slid that piece of meat under the skin we will finish off the
seasoning by applying a generous sprinkling of kosher salt on both sides
at which point our airline chicken breasts are ready to cook or of course
we could wrap them up and pop them in the fridge for later okay this is
definitely something you can prep ahead of time and yes when you put two of
these together they do look like a heart which I love
I mean heart but anyway if we want we can wrap these up and use them later but
since I need some final shots let’s go ahead and cook a couple which I’m gonna
do in this pan set over medium-high heat and a little bit of olive oil starting
of course with the skin side down and generally in the restaurant once these
are marked in the pan they’re finished in the oven but if you want even though
it’s a little trickier we can do these all the way in the pan on top of the
stove so what I did is give that first side about six or seven minutes and
we’ll go ahead and flip that over and cook it on the other side until cooked
through and we’ll also back our heat down to medium and of course if you have
to adjust that up or down go ahead that is just you cooking and sometimes what I
like to do while there’s second sides cooking is go ahead and toss in a chunk
of butter along with some fresh herbs and once our butter melts it gets
infused with all that herbaceous goodness we can use that to base their
breasts which if someone’s watching you do this totally makes it look like you
know what you’re doing but anyway we’ll go ahead and let that second side cook
they steam with our butter if we so desire
and we will continue to do that until our chicken is cooked through which for
many folks in America means 165 internal Tampa but not me I like to live
dangerously I only go to about 150 Shh do not tell the USDA but the fact is
once you reach 140 to 145 anything that could hurt you is dead and by not going
all the way up to 165 you need is something that’s way
way more tender and juicy as you’re about to see and once that is done to
our liking we’ll go ahead and remove that from the pan and we’ll keep that
warm for about five minutes while we make our pan sauce and we’ll do that bad
in a splash of vinegar to our pan drippings along with a little bit of
chicken broth or stock and we’ll go ahead and bring that up to a boil on
high whisking occasionally and we’ll the do is boil that for about two minutes
which should release all that goodness from the bottom and then once that
happens all we need to do is turn off the heat and whisk in a chunk of cold
butter and thanks to the acidity of this liquid and the motion of that whisk that
butter is going to be emulsified in creating a very simple very beautiful
extremely flavorful pan sauce or pans you if you prefer and that’s it other
than tasting that for seasoning you’re pretty much done and ready to serve up
which is what I’m gonna do right now and I’m gonna go ahead and cut my beautiful
airline breasts twice to hopefully make for a little bit more of an interesting
presentation and I’m gonna go ahead and transfer that next to some prop spinach
and I will go ahead and spoon over our freshly made butter sauce actually now
that I think about it this is a double butter sauce
note to self trademark phrase double butter sauce and by the way when your
sauce is something with crispy skin put the sauce underneath all right if you
spoon the sauce over the skin like I’m doing here you’re gonna lose that Chris
penis so do as I say not as I did speaking of which I finished that up
with a sprig of rosemary that I think we can all agree add it absolutely nothing
to that plate so maybe not do that either but anyway despite that I still
think this came out looking absolutely gorgeous so I grabbed a fork a knife and
went in for the official taste and as promised not only did that fillet under
the skin help keep everything nice and moist and juicy
it also allowed us to season this chicken breast from the inside out and
by the way I can tell you’re a little concerned that that breast looks
undercooked but you know what it really is not all right part of it is our dry
seasoning plus our camera angle plus all that extra moisture from not overcooking
it that’s giving it sort of a translucent look but as you can see here
in the close-up as I cut through this it really is cooked through and the reason
it looks like this is because it’s not cooked to 165 so I know people freak out
when they don’t see pure white chalky looking chicken breast but as I said
this is perfectly safe and if you’ve never had chicken cooked this way
def definitely try like this sometime at
your own risk of course so to summarize I just loved everything
about this although in hindsight I did regret now using fresh bright beautiful
green herbs inside since I thought that we looked a little better but anyway
that’s it the airline chicken breast well we will
never recapture that golden era of air travel and being able to fly anywhere we
want without ID we can however with some very basic knife skills recreate one of
the classic dishes from that time so I really do hope you give this a try soon
head over to food wishes calm for all the ingredient amounts of more info as
usual and as always enjoy you

100 thoughts on “Airline Chicken Breast (Enhanced) – Food Wishes

  1. I typically cook chicken breast to about 160 and let them rest. The temp will continue to rise, kinetic energy n' sh*t… Although with wings, thighs, and legs, I go really high. I'm talkin' about 180-190 give or take 5 degrees. Wings need to be crispy, legs & thighs can take the heat… Bwah!

  2. Can confirm from 2-3 years in Asia that bloody chicken and rice hasn’t killed me so I’m pretty sure Chef knows his stuff :3

  3. Hello Chef!  Wonderful video, I remember flying as a young lad in the '60's and remember vividly wearing (at my parents insistence) my best "Sunday-go-to-meeting" clothes and eating a fairly good meal in-flight.But I do have a technical question for you – I noticed you didn't address the thigh bone in terms of "Frenching" the bone – I am a student at a local community college where I live pursuing a Culinary Arts certificate and the rule of thumb taught by the instructor Chef is always French the thigh bone when preparing an Airline Chicken Breast.  Do you have any thoughts on the issue?I'm very happy to watch your videos, I've use two of your video recipes while attending class and have received top grades – thank you and look forward to you continuing your wonderful videos!

  4. It's amazing how close this recipe is to the bygone era of airline travel (I remember!). The butter and herbs enhancement is a very fine tuning and makes it even more beautiful. Tried it today with bone-in chicken thighs; the result is still marvelous. Thank you Chef!

  5. When I was 15, in 1970, I worked at a poultry stand in the Farmers Market of Los Angeles. I was taught how to cut up a chicken by an old man who learned from his dad in the 1800s. I have never seen anyone on TV or the Internet do it "properly". Since I have used at least 50 of your recipes and have great admiration for you, I would like to share this knowledge with you.

  6. Looks great but you wont catch me cooking at a close temperature like that. Probably why I enjoy making soups,stews and pies (no risk all reward).

  7. I will never understand how people can overcook there food.
    This chickenbreast is perfectly done, and cooking it more would be named "kiliing it twice" here in germany.
    i would always go the really really low risk of getting sick maybe one time in my life of undercooked food, then eating overcooked food my whole life

  8. "Oh, it was quite the scene." I actually remember those days. Back before TSA, before you had to remove your shoes & get to the airport 8 hours before your flight, before the days where planes became essentially cattle cars with wings. 😂😂

  9. I keep thinking I am going to go vegetarian, but then I watch Chef John…
    I think I will just start using less, but more expensive, organic field raised meats…

  10. Chef Jon, you have outdone yourself! I am such a huge fan of all your videos. Prolific only begins to describe your contribution to the inquisitive chef community. Is this technique a true original idea? what was the catalyst for inspiration for the dish?

  11. Speaking of airline food, I was served the most delicious tuna piquant on SAS airlines years ago, I have yet to find a recipe for it, any ideas?

  12. Some juvenile humor. Auto-close captioned interpreted "crispiness" as "Chris penis". I guess they need to work on that.

  13. Oh man, I'm about to show my age here, but I worked on the line at a restaurant where we served this for brunch and I was SURE we had invented this and named it in the weirdest way possible… my chef did nothing to disavow me of this notion, probably because he thought it was hilarious. Thanks for teaching me!

  14. If you got fresh quality chicken a bit transclucency or even a slight hue of pink won't do any harm. In Japan they even have a special pultry breed for chicken sashimi.

  15. Chef john, i want to thank you for doing what you do. Using this technique of stuffing the tender under the skin as well as a couple of your other recipes i was able to finish in first place at the CT SkillsUSA culinary competition. Thank you for all the inspiration.

  16. We get chicken cooked like that plenty of the times we get it made to order. Definitely will take the 165 chicken over it any day :p

  17. I have never seen anything like this in my life!!!!!!!!!!! But I do remember the days of dresses, suits, smokey rooms, and highballs. 👗🎩👔🚬🥤

  18. Raise your hand if you never heard of airline chicken breasts before and thought this was an April Fool’s prank

  19. As a little better than average Chef, this guy has changed my whole perspective. Dozens of times. One of my all time heros

  20. For that additional authentic airline experience, you need someone's crotch goblin kicking the back of your seat

  21. This looks beautiful but honestly I'm afraid to cut a whole chicken like that. It looks like part of it is having a really sharp knife. I guess the only way to get good is to try.

  22. Dude, your videos could be used to coerce a captured spy on hunger strike into revealing every government secret he's been privy to

  23. This IS the definitive, best explained and shown example of taking the parts from the chicken carcass. Excellent, thank you. Also what was obvious to me and should be also to others, is how a very sharp knife is the only way to go. Thanks John. And as always…I enjoyed!

  24. This made me sad. I was served chicken on a Piedmont flight on the way to boot camp in 82. Last civilian food I ate for a long time and it's memory stayed with me throughout those days.

  25. I dont know what it is about Airline Chicken Breasts, but they have a really unique taste and texture to them… The bone adds a little something…

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