I love to roast chicken but I've never used this method before. To spatchcock means to remove the backbone of the chicken and flatten it for even cooking. You can grill or roast it and it cooks in less time than a traditional chicken. Mine was also much more juicy and flavourful than the last chicken I roasted, but I can't be certain the method was the reason. Regardless, it was a rousing success!
I served it with fennel and colourful carrots roasted on the same pan, and some steamed green beans.
To start you need a whole chicken (mine was about 3.5 pounds) and some sharp kitchen shears.
You need to cut out the backbone of the chicken. Place it breast side down on a cutting board and starting from the tail end, start cutting along one side of the backbone up to the neck.
Here's one side of the backbone done. Now turn the chicken around and, starting from the neck end this time, cut along the other side of the backbone and remove it.
This looks a little macabre but it's not that scary. Now, see those dark bits on the backbone down on the left? I believe that's the liver. At this point I rinsed the chicken cavity and the backbone to get rid of it. I've read it can be tasty but I'm not ready for that.
I put the rinsed backbone in a bag and popped it in the freezer for the next time I make stock.
Now turn the chicken over and press on the breast to flatten it as much as possible. That's spatchcocked!
On a large sheet pan, spread a bit of oil.
Flip the chicken over and season the inside with salt and pepper and a bit of oil.
Flip it again, breast side up and rub with more oil, salt and pepper.
I also love to sprinkle roast chicken with paprika. It doesn't add much flavour but the colour is beautiful.
I almost forgot! Slice up a lemon and tuck the slices under the chicken.
Now pop this in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
Next, prepare your vegetables. I found these beautiful colourful carrots and decided to roast them with the chicken.
I simply sliced them lengthwise and tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper.
And I can't roast chicken without fennel.
Chop off the tops, cut out the root and slice the bulb into wedges. Toss these with oil, salt and pepper as well. You could toss them with the carrots but I didn't want those purple carrots to get their colour all over the fennel.
Once the chicken has roasted for 20 minutes, scatter the fennel and carrots on the pan and pop it back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked to 165 degrees when tested with a meat thermometer.
Remove the chicken from the oven and cover and let sit for about 10 minutes. Toss the vegetables and leave them in the oven while the chicken rests.
Carving the spatchcocked chicken is easier than a traditional chicken. The legs just pop right off and it's easy to remove the drumsticks from the thighs.
Slice the breast off the bone.
Matt loves the drumstick and I love the thigh so we each get our pick and a bit of breast.
By now the veggies are nice and brown.
Serve them up with the chicken and something green if you like.
The chicken was juicy and delicious and the roasted vegetables took on the flavour of the chicken and lemon to become so flavourful.
I will definitely be doing this again.