Barefoot Contessa: Ina Garten’s Simple Trick for ‘Really Delicious, Well-Flavored Chicken’

Ina Garten’s is synonymous with chicken. The 73-year-old has lots of Barefoot Contessa chicken recipes. There are the chicken dishes fans love and, of course, Barefoot Contessa classics. But how does Garten get what she’d call “fabulous” chicken? The Food Network star uses a simple, how easy is that? trick. 

Ina Garten’s famous for her chicken recipes

Ina Garten sits at a table holding her 'Cooking for Jeffrey' cookbook at the Food Network and Cooking Channel New York City Wine and Food Festival
‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten | Noam Galai/Getty Images for NYCWFF

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The best-selling cookbook author’s known for many things but it’s her chicken recipes that are some of her most popular dishes. Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken is one of the highest-rated Barefoot Contessa recipes on The Food Network’s website.

In the early days of Garten’s cooking show, it became common knowledge she roasted a chicken every Friday night. Now, more than 20 years since the debut of her first cookbook, Garten probably has hundreds of chicken recipes. And many of them she’s made on Barefoot Contessa.

When Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex proposed to Meghan, Duchess of Sussex while roasting a chicken, Garten joked her Engagement Chicken was responsible. Her chicken recipes are that famous.

The Barefoot Contessa uses chicken with the skin on for more flavor

During a 2010 Epicurious interview while promoting her seventh cookbook, How Easy Is That?, Garten shared a tip for getting flavorful chicken. From all her years of experience — she ran a Barefoot Contessa specialty food store before becoming a cookbook author — Garten discovered chicken with the skin on made a dish better. 

Here’s what she told the outlet: 

“Instead of boiling chicken for chicken salad—which takes the flavor out of the chicken, and then you have to deal with all these big pots of boiling water—I’ve found if you roast chicken breasts with the skin on, and then take off the bones and the skin when it’s done, you end up with really delicious, well-flavored chicken for chicken salad. It’s a much easier process, and the chicken tastes better.”

Yet another Garten cooking tip that’s simple and easy to do at home. There are no random kitchen gadgets or expensive ingredients. 

How to make Ina Garten’s classic chicken salad

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Garten made Chicken Salad Veronique — a fancy name for chicken salad with grapes — on Barefoot Contessa Season 8 Episode 7: “Flavors and Flowers.” It’s a perfect example of using chicken with the skin on to get a more flavorful dish.

First, Garten roasts the chicken before removing the skin. Then she chops it up and gets to work on the dressing. Once that’s done she cuts seedless grapes in half. Finally, everything is tossed together and the salad’s ready to serve. 

Ingredients for Garten’s Chicken Salad Veronique: 

  • 4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 cup small-diced celery (2 stalks)
  • 1 cup green grapes, cut in 1/2