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The Weekend Chef

Weekend Chef: Leaping Frog Chicken

Posted 1:00am on Sunday, Jul. 22, 2012

This could be one of my strangest posts yet, but did you know you can cut up a chicken so it looks like a “Leaping Frog?” Well it was a new one for me.

I was cruising around Cooking.com’s cooking forum when I came across a post about using the “leaping Frog” technique to flatten your chicken so that it will cook more evenly. Apparently, Gourmet magazine did a story about it in 2009.

After seeing a picture of the technique, the first thing I thought was it did look like a frog. My second thought was it looked like a good idea, plus it was a fun shape. So I decided to give it a try.

To do the frog you need a whole chicken (I like getting mine at Sprouts,) a knife and kitchen shears. You also need a large cutting board and space to perform this operation.

I have step-by-step pictures in the slideshow above, but here are the steps.

Place chicken on a cutting board breast up, with drumsticks toward you.

Take knife and cut between the body and one of the drumsticks, leaving the drumstick attached to the thigh. Pull the drumstick and thigh back until the thigh joint pops.

Repeat on other drumstick.

Now it is time to use the kitchen shears. Lift up the breast and cut each side of the rib cage with the kitchen shears up to the base of the wing/shoulders of the chicken.

Unfold the chicken at the shoulder and turn over so the skin side is up.

Now, place the heel of your hand on the breastbone and push down till it cracks and is flattened.

You should now have a chicken that sort of looks like a leaping frog.

Leaping Frog Chicken

  • Whole Chicken, cut with “leaping Frog” technique
  • Chopped fresh herbs
  • 2 Large lemons, zest, then cut into ¼ inch thin slices
  • 1 or 2 heads of garlic, cut in half
  • ½ stick of soft butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 small red potatoes halved
  • Large roasting/grilling pan

Brine

  • 2 Quarts water
  • ½ cup canning/table salt or 1 cup kosher
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 gallon resealable plastic bag

Brining

I like to brine my chicken before roasting to make the chicken extra juicy.

Mix sugar and salt into 2 quarts of water until dissolved.

Place whole chicken into resealable plastic bag, add the brine and seal the bag.

Place bag in a bowl or pan to catch any liquid (if the bag springs a leak), then place into the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.

Remove from brine and rinse off in cold water. Pat dry with paper towel, and put back into refrigerator on a plate for 2 to 4 hours to air-dry the skin.

Cooking

Cut chicken with “leaping Frog” technique. Check slideshow above for step-by-step pictures.

Rub chicken with sliced garlic.

Squeeze and rub a couple of lemon slices onto chicken.

Generously salt and pepper chicken, both sides.

Line bottom of large roasting/grilling pan with lemon slices.

Place chicken, skin side up in roasting/grilling pan.

Rub chicken with soft butter.

Sprinkle chicken with chopped fresh herbs and lemon zest. I picked my fresh herbs out of my backyard herb garden.

Add potato slices and garlic to pan around chicken. Roast on a covered hot grill (or an oven at 400ºF.) It should take around 45 minutes, or when an instant-read thermometer reaches 165ºF in the thick part of the chicken breast. If the skin looks like it is getting brown too fast while roasting, you can cover the chicken with a foil tent.

So how did it turn out?

Tasted great! Very juicy from the brining, and the cook time was less than if I had left the bird whole. The skin did not get quite as brown as I wanted, but that was my fault. I was running a little behind for dinner and did not let the skin air-dry after the brining.

I think there will be a few more “Leaping Frogs” in my future cooks.

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