I know I was supposed to post this yesterday, but there was Revelry at our house on Saturday night. Revelry that lasted into Sunday morning. Revelry that kept me from my appointed blogging duties. I apologize.
So, I teased you guys with the spatchcocking deal the other day, right? Like many culinary terms, spatchcocking means different things to different people, and the origin of the term in Shrouded by the Mists of Time. Spatchcock means to cut the backbone out of a bird so you can open him up and lay him out flat. Some folks tell you to cut the whole backbone out, cutting first down one side and then down the other. I say just make one cut. Some folks say you have to cut out the backbone and the breastbone. I still say just make one cut, unless there is some reason for your bird to be Very Very Flat.
It takes half as long, plus the backbone remains attached to be used in roasted chicken stock later.
Keep in mind that spatchcocking is a technique, not a recipe. Hopefully, this will free you up to season the bird however you’d like.
Once it’s seasoned, just chuck it in the oven and roast it at about 375F until the breast meat reads around 160-162F. Take the chicken out of the oven, loosely cover with foil and let rest for about fifteen minutes or so. The carryover heat will take the breast meat to a very nice 165F. Since the bird is flat, the whole thing roasts more quickly than it would if you roasted it whole. Since the ratio of bone to meat is higher in the dark meat, it cooks a bit more quickly than the breast meat. This means the dark and white meats get done at the same time, even though the dark meat needs to be cooked to a higher temperature. Magic.
We got three meals out of this one chicken, plus a lovely roasted carcass to turn into stock for soup or Whatever. Here’s the whole procedure:
Roasting The Bird
- 1 happy formerly happy organic chicken, ruthlessly cut down one side of the spine and then flattened
- vegetable oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Old Bay seasoning (shocking, I know)
- Tasty Items to put under the skin
Rinse and pat the chicken dry. Apologize to it for your treatment of it.
Rub a little oil all over both sides of the chicken. Season both sides with salt, pepper and whatever else makes you happy.
Place the bird in a baking dish, skin side up.
Shove tasty items under the skin. I used lemon slices under the breast skin and slices of Vidalia onion under the thigh skin.
Roast in a 375F oven until breast meat registers 160F-ish and thigh meat registers 175F-ish. I believe it took about 45-50 minutes for me. Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes.
Meal, The First: Lemon Chicken with Marinated Cucumbers:
I served the breast meat (lemon-roasted), skin on, cut across the grain. The cucumbers were from the garden, very thinly sliced and dressed simply with white wine vinegar and Murray River Salt.
Meal, The Second: Onion Roasted Chicken with Roasted Potato Medley:
I served the dark meat (onion-roasted) the next evening with a simple gravy made from the leftover pan drippings.
I cut up some sweet potatoes and russet potatoes, tossed them with some oil, salt, pepper and Old Bay (again, shocking) and roasted them at 425F for about 25-30 minutes.
Meal, The Third: Chicken and Rice in Gravy:
I don’t even have a picture to go with this one. All I did was heat the leftover chicken, cut up in small pieces, in the leftover gravy. Then, I served that over brown rice. It was a very beige meal, and not very photogenic, but it was tasty, and with a salad or a veggie side or two, it makes a nice, simple meal.
And I think that about does it. If you’ve never spatchcocked a chicken, you really should try it. And just because I used lemon and onion doesn’t mean that you have to. What about a compound herb butter? Fresh herbs? Apple slices? Raisins? Celery? Garlic?
Okay. Now I’m done.