Sunday Suppers, Monday Edition: Chicken, Three Ways

Hello, lovely roasted, spatchcocked chicken.  Look at all your lovely pan juices--gravy waiting to happen.

Hello, lovely roasted, spatchcocked chicken. Look at all your lovely pan juices–gravy waiting to happen.

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.

Just make the cut right against one side of the backbone--regular kitchen shears work fine for this.

Just make the cut right against one side of the backbone–regular kitchen shears work fine for this.

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.

See, just open it like a book.  You might need to press down a little on the breast. Don't worry; it won't feel a thing.

See, just open it like a book. You might need to press down a little on the breast. Don’t worry; it won’t feel a thing.

What are those Mysterious Items under the chicken skin?!

What are those Mysterious Items under the chicken skin?!

Ta da!  Just some lemon slices under the breast skin and some onion slices under the thigh skin.  Very Sneaky.

Ta da! Just some lemon slices under the breast skin and some onion slices under the thigh skin. Very Sneaky.

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:

Look how moist and juicy the breast meat is--that's because it was basted in lemon juice and lemon oil the whole time it was roasting.  You can see some of the lemon slice peeking out from under the skin.

Look how moist and juicy the breast meat is–that’s because it was basted in lemon juice and lemon oil the whole time it was roasting. You can see some of the lemon slice peeking out from under the skin.

Simple and pretty elegant.  Quite tasty.

Simple and pretty elegant. Quite tasty.

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:

Hearty and really, really tasty.  The dark meat had onion under the skin, and the resulting meat was very sweet and moist and oniony.

Hearty and really, really tasty. The dark meat had onion under the skin, and the resulting meat was very sweet and moist and oniony.

I served the dark meat (onion-roasted) the next evening with a simple gravy made from the leftover pan drippings.

This is about 1 cup of oniony/lemony/Old Bay-y pan dripping with all but about 2 tsp fat removed.

This is about 1 cup of oniony/lemony/Old Bay-y pan dripping with all but about 2 tsp fat removed.

Look--it stays in one container-shaped blob until it gets heated.  Lots of gelatin in this stuff.

Look–it stays in one container-shaped blob until it gets heated. Lots of gelatin in this stuff.

The drippings were so well seasoned that all I did was pour in some flour slurry (flour and cold water whisked together) once it came to a boil to thicken it up.  Simple and very tasty.

The drippings were so well seasoned that all I did was pour in some flour slurry (flour and cold water whisked together) once it came to a boil to thicken it up. Simple and very tasty.

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.

Crisoy on the outside, creamy on the inside.  Excellent side o' potatoes.

Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside. Excellent side o’ potatoes.

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.

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Comments

  1. Michele H. says

    This technique also takes care of the “flabby skin on the back of the roasted chicken because I don’t know where I put the *#*@(# rack!” problem, doesn’t it?

    I can heartily recommend the tarragon/orange spice mixture from World Spice Merchants for chicken. I don’t recommend squeezing fresh orange juice over the chicken right before roasting, however, as the juice will simply burn up in the bottom of the pan and you’ll have to switch the chicken to another pan, mid-roast. Oh…squeeze the orange juice over the chicken towards the end of the cooking time…sometimes the cooking god just isn’t hanging around closely enough.

    Michele H.

    • says

      Yes, Michele, all the skin (more or less) is exposed to the heat, so all of it (more or less) gets nice and browned.

      Orange-tarragon chicken sounds wonderful. Sounds like you might know something about the perils of burning orange juice! How about just shoving orange slices under the chicken skin?

  2. says

    There’s is a chicken in my freezer that’s just BEGGING to become an invertebrate. I shall dismember her in the next day or so and try this out.

    I may even have to take photos so you can laugh!

  3. says

    Specially love the aggressive glistening of the 4th cucumber slice from the top.

    (I could have just said “nice chicken breast”, but you knew that already.)

  4. says

    I’ve made spatchcocked chicken twice and done it with cornish hens before as well. It is scrumptious. Thanks for reminding me about it – it’s been a while since I’ve done it and I think it’s time again, now that the weather is cooling down.

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