(Almost Spatchcocked) Roast Chicken

6.15.10 § 1 Comment

The other night, I was trying to figure out what to serve at an impromptu dinner party when I remembered a recent blog post by Adam Roberts about spatchcocked chicken (he was inspired by an article from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt over at Serious Eats).  According to Adam/Kenji, if you spatchcock a chicken before roasting it, the chicken breast doesn’t get dried out, which sometimes happen when you roast the bird whole.  (Note: “Spatchcock” is a fancy and extremely fun way to say “butterfly.”  If you want to learn more about why spatchcocking leaves you with a juicier bird, read Adam or Kenji’s post, both of which talk about why this technique works like a charm.)  I decided that trying out this new roasting method would be great for my little get together (let’s be honest, it was only me and one other person, but in my mind, where two or more gather together, there a dinner party is.)

Unfortunately, after leaving work at 6 and going to two stores to secure all of the evening’s ingredients (we served the bird alongside penne à la vodka), I got caught in a torrential downpour and I struggled to juggle multiple bags of groceries and my umbrella as I walked the three avenues from the store to my friend’s apartment.  Needless to say, by the time I got there I was a bit frazzled, and starving.

As a result of my extreme frustration and hunger, I botched my spatchcocking job.  Rather than cutting the spine out of the chicken while leaving the breast bone intact, I used my shears to split the chicken down the breast.  My thought process here: “How will I remove the spine without cutting through the breast so I can get to it?”  Nevermind that the whole point is to flatten the chicken while keeping it in one piece with the breast in the center.

Thankfully, the chicken turned out great despite my efforts to screw things up, and the breast wasn’t dry at all.  I’m definitely going to do some more spatchcocking in the future—hopefully I won’t mess it up next time!

Basic Spatchcocked Roast Chicken
inspired by Amateur Gourmet/Serious Eats

3-4 lb whole chicken
herbs of your choice (I used rosemary and oregano)
lemon juice
salt and pepper
olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Wash the chicken and pat it dry.  Set the chicken on the counter with the breastbone on the cutting board.  Using kitchen shears, cut out the chicken’s back bone.  Pick the chicken up, turn it over, and place it on a cookie sheet (lined with aluminum foil for easy cleanup).  Press down on the breast bone to flatten the chicken out.  (The breast should be in the center of the cookie sheet and the legs should be by the edges.)

Rub the chicken with olive oil (about 1 tbsp).  Use your fingers to loosen the skin and slide a few herb stems between the skin and flesh.  Finally, season generously with salt and pepper.  Slide that baby in the oven and cook it for about 45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the joint between the thigh and body of the bird reads about 170 degrees.

Remove the chicken from the oven and squeeze a lemon over it.  Serve and enjoy.


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§ One Response to (Almost Spatchcocked) Roast Chicken

  • This made me laugh, first of all, because spatchcocked is an awesome word that I will spread around to all my friends and we will all sound cool. Second, because I’ve made my family’s versions of a whole roasted chicken and penne a la vodka as my two most recent recipes! (Do great minds think alike or what?) But my roast chicken definitely wasn’t as cool. I really want to spatchcock it next time.

    Also (long comment sorry), I’m glad you tried and liked the bucatini! Up next on my list is your balsamic grilled chicken.

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