Monday, May 10, 2010

spatchcock chicken for a summer barbeque, or in the rain, a summer oven

There is nothing I love more than a roast chicken.  The crispy skin and the smell that fills the house could nearly make me cry.  This method is great for cooking chicken during the summer on the barbecue but also if you fancy a change to your regular roast bird - also I love the messing with the marinade as the combinations are endless.  In my house the boys love the brown leg meat and when you butterfly it, you expose all of the thigh to the heat and it is no longer partially tucked under the main body of the bird, thus providing a crispy skin and delicate leg meat - very popular with three year olds.
To spatchcock a bird, anything from quail to poussin or chicken, means to remove the backbone, thus enabling the bird to spread out into a flat, albeit divided piece of meat.  It is perfect for the barbeque as the bird is flat against the heat and thus cooks much better.

Tonight I marinated a medium sized chicken after it had been spatchcocked.  The marinade is not a fixed affair and I added what fresh herbs I had.  It is best marinaded for at least one hour prior to cooking.

For the marinade:

A large bunch of herbs - I used sage, thyme, marjoram, parsley, chives, basil
1 juicy clove of garlic
3 tblsps of olive oil
2 large knobs, approx. 45g butter
juice of half a lemon

In a small blender combine all the ingredients until you have a fine herb butter.  The oil prevents it from burning and the lemon ensures a tender meat.

To spatchcock the bird:

OK, I know this looks terrible but take a good sturdy pair of kitchen (or maybe garden) scissors/shears and cut out the backbone and sternum of one medium/large organic chicken.  You need to cut through the bone to the left and right of the backbone un til it comes away in your hand.  This is much easier than it sounds.  Push it down onto a roasting tin and it will lie flat on a pan almost like it has collapsed and fallen asleep.  It is spread out like a butterfly.

The good thing about this is that if you are pressed for time, a butterflied chicken will cook much faster than a whole chicken.  Smear the butter (retaining some) over the breast/skin side of the bird and set aside to marinade for at least an hour.  When you are ready to cook it, preheat your oven to 200 degrees (or add to  the barbeque) and in a hot pan, brown the skin of the meat of the chicken, place on a roasting tray and put in the the oven. 

Roast in the oven at 200 degrees for about 1 hour.  To check if it ready, investigate a leg to see if the juices run clear and there is no blood.

We ate this with a delicious tomato and mozzarella salad, the taste of pure summer ...  even though it was only 10 degrees, wet and cold today. 
After my first day as a full time mother, I feel a bit like lying down to sleep, a bit  like my spatchcocked bird!,

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