A few nights ago I prepared my first ever spatchcocked chicken. Have you ever done that? If you haven’t then I have to warn you; it’s not a pleasant thing to do to a chicken carcass. That’s me, my opinion…maybe you spatchcock all the time.
Taking very sharp kitchen shears you snip away at the backbone so you may then flip the bird over and press down on the breastbone. This causes the bird to spread out in a very strange looking fashion.
It was the crunching through the backbone and pressure of the shears on said backbone that creeped me out. Evidently it’s meant to cook faster being spread out. A whole chicken all in one headless, featherless, all-parts-composed state ready for roasting takes a bit longer to cook or roast. Well……..in the future, I will just use a cut up chicken or roast the bird before I ever, ever take shears to a backbone again.
Forgot to set the scene…..ok…….. Since this is a meal that doesn’t need attention or basting, my plan was to read more of my book while the bird roasted. ( Currently reading The Dinner by Herman Koch) Doug opted to get some eyepiece time in with the telescope while dinner was cooking. I was to give Doug a 10 minute warning before the bird is taken out of the oven so he could put his scope away and we’d get the table set up, open wine, and plate the food.
Since the recipe called for roasting at 400 F for 45 to 50 minutes (if using a 4 pound bird) I went an extra 10 minutes…just to be safe… and then called him in to dinner. Unfortunately, there was some pink around the leg once I started carving. So now I hacked at the pieces and placed the cut up thighs, legs, one wing and breast with the other wing attached back into the oven.
Carving isn’t something I usually do. This is left to my husband because he can actually carve the pieces off the bird with great accuracy. You always know what part of the chicken you are getting when he carves. Not so much when I am loosed with the Global carving knife. Or any knife for that matter.
By now, the wine has been opened and the asparagus is on the table. Chicken is back in the oven. We sit with the great open expanse of near empty plates, a glass of cabernet sauvignon and the rapidly cooling asparagus. We sit, sip and nibble as the chicken cooks, seemingly at a glacial speed. That always seems the case when you are ravenous.
Finally it’s done but I have to say….nothing remarkable. It was just plain old roasted chicken with ragged edges. Since it had been flattened out that one wing I couldn’t carve off was adhering to the upper part of the breast meat and the neck bone. Now that was a weird thing to see. The wing had the neck bone sticking up at an angle and looked a bit like Rachel Dratch with that arm sticking out of her head.
End result – it was good (once fully cooked) but I won’t do it again. Roasting whole chicken or grilling wings or thighs. I had an experience with spatchcocking but I am done with it.
Here is the recipe for any daring spatchcockers out there......
Quick flat-roasted chicken
From Simple Essentials
1.8kg (4lb) chicken
1 lemon, sliced
8 sprigs thyme
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
Olive oil for brushing
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
Using kitchen scissors, cut along the backbone of the chicken, then press firmly on the breastbone to flatten it.
Place the chicken in a baking dish lined with non-stick baking paper. Add the lemon, thyme and garlic. Brush with oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake for 35-45 minutes or until cooked through.
All other recipes I have tried by Donna Hay have been fabulous. I imagine anyone's spatchcock recipe would fall into disfavor with me but......don't let that put you off Donna's other recipes.