All trussed up and in to the oven you go!

Preparation for deboned chicken stuffed with spinach
Preparation for deboned chicken stuffed with spinach

Many years ago I attempted to debone a chicken. I was completely unsuccessful. I had no idea what I was doing. “How hard can it be?”, I thought. It took me over an hour. It’s a memory I’ve banished because of the effort involved. Ripped flesh of a chicken was what I had left to show for it. I was a young Mom at the time and had countless more important things to do than waste time on deboning a chicken. Been there, done that, move on! However, when I fail at something it does nag at me to let me know that I need more information, skills and training to perhaps try it again. Enter, Jacques Pépin the legendary French chef from the 80’s. I stumbled onto a video by Jacques Pépin, he made it look so easy and in a record 32 seconds his bird was deboned. My goodness, I was definitely going to give it a try. Granted I did not take the impressive 32 seconds, but a respectable 14 minutes and I was done and ready to stuff my bird.

Cooking is the art of adjustment

Jacques Pépin

All trussed up and in to the oven you go!

Deboned chicken stuffed with spinach and trussed for the oven
Servings 6 people
Prep Time 1 hour
Cooking time 50 minutes


  • 1 whole chicken deboned see below for instructions
  • 2 tbls olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 tbls butter
  • 1 whole red onion finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • preserved lemon
  • 300 g prepared spinach net weight cook about 800g fresh spinach, squeeze out all excess moisture and finely chop
  • 55 g green olives
  • 8 g parsley
  • 8 g origanum
  • 4 g rosemary
  • 150 g feta


Debone chicken

  • Place fresh chicken on clean work surface with the breast facing up and the back facing down. Locate the wish bone and remove it. Be careful not to crack this fine bone and leave splinters in the chicken. Flip the chicken over with the back facing up. Run a sharp knife down the back of the chicken, cutting through the skin. Peel the skin back to the oysters starting at the wing joints. You can trim the tips of the wings and use them for chicken stock. I left the wings in to give structure to the chicken. Locate the joints in the legs and wings and cut the sinews away from the carcass. Crack the ball joints and pull the bone free. Once the ball joints are no longer attached to the carcass you will be able to pull the carcass away from the skin. Reserve the carcass and bones removed from the leg and wing for chicken stock. I freeze mine until I need chicken stock. Once the carcass is free, strip away the tenderloins from the breastbone which will still attached to the carcass. Now lay the the deboned chicken in a bowl and refrigerate until the stuffing is ready.
  • Step-by-step video to debone, stuff and truss a chicken
  • my chicken definitely needs a bit more finesse, I will work on this in the future

Chicken Stuffing

  • Place the olive oil and butter in a large pot on med high heat when sizzling add onion and cook for 2-3 min, stir in the spring onion and stir until cooked about 1 min, Add the garlic and preserved lemons along with the spinach cook until combined for about 2 minutes. Season to taste
  • Remove from the stove, add the Olives, herbs and cheese and stir to combine
  • Place the chicken on a clean work surface and lay it out flat. Season the open cavity with salt and pepper. Add the filling and spread out evenly, pushing into the legs and wings.
  • close the chicken back up to resemble a whole chicken. Truss the chicken to ensure it stays together during cooking. Season and rub with olive oil.
  • Add olive oil to base of heavy cast iron pot, heat on high and brown chicken on all sides to ensure it seals in the juices. Start with the bone-in sides first as these take longer to cook.
  • Place in covered casserole dish along with a few slices of thick cut lemon, in oven for 45-50min or until juices from thigh run clear. rest uncovered for 15min before carving to let the juices settle in the chicken.


Course: Dinner
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Chicken, debone, Feta, garlic, onion, origanum, parsley, preserved lemon, rosemary, Spinach, spring onion

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