How to bake chicken for a crowd

Written by ann johnson
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How to bake chicken for a crowd
(A. Johnson)

When serving a large group of people there are several things to consider. The first is choosing an entrée that appeals to the majority of the crowd, and the second is how to prepare the food with the least amount of effort. Baked chicken will meet both those needs. While it may be tempting to choose thighs or legs, which are less expensive cuts of the poultry, those present their own problems. Meat with the bone in will bake inconsistently, with areas of the meat undercooked, and other areas overcooked. There is also the issue of clean up, and dealing with the bones.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Boneless chicken breasts
  • Paper towels
  • Baking pans
  • Olive oil
  • Pastry brush
  • Seasoning salt
  • Poultry seasoning
  • Pepper

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  1. 1

    Tally the number of people who will be served. It may be tempting to assume a certain percentage will not attend, and remove that number from the total, but this could result in running out of food if you have a good turnout.

  2. 2

    Purchase a boneless chicken breast per person. If there will be other entrées and side dishes, you can choose three- or four-ounce breasts. You can also choose six- or eight-ounce chicken breasts. If you decide on an eight-ounce breast, plan to cut each one in half prior to baking. Even if you intend to provide eight-ounces per person, it will allow those with smaller appetites to choose one, and others can take a second helping.

  3. 3

    Consider skinless versus chicken breast with skin. Boneless chicken breasts often come skinless. Skinless breasts may cost a bit more, and tend to dry out more than baked chicken breasts with the skin. But many people prefer skinless breasts.

  4. 4

    Rinse the chicken breasts in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Be sure to sanitise your cooking area before and after doing this, as the fluid from the raw chicken can contaminate your work space and cause food poisoning. Some cooks skip this step, believing the risk of contaminating other food is higher than benefits from rinsing the chicken. If your work area is not one that can be sanitised before preparing the other dishes, skip this step.

  5. 5

    Lay the chicken breast (skin side up, if there is skin) in a baking dish, so that each piece is touching. Fill the baking dish completely.

  6. 6

    Using a pastry brush, liberally coat the top of the chicken with olive oil.

  7. 7

    Season the breasts by sprinkling seasoning salt, pepper and poultry seasoning over them. Sprinkle as you would salt a serving of food, do not drench the chicken in seasoning.

  8. 8

    Bake uncovered at 177 degrees Cor about an hour. Cooking time will vary, depending on the size of the baking dish, and how many baking dishes you have in the oven at one time. Multiple baking dishes can be baked at once.

  9. 9

    Cut into one piece of chicken, in the centre of the pan, and if the meat is white, the chicken is done.

Tips and warnings

  • Before baking, cook up boxes of prepared rice (cooking the number of servings needed), according to the packing on the label. Layer the bottom of the baking pans with the cooked rice and lay the raw chicken on the rice, and cook according to the steps 5 through 9.

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