Have you heard of Spatchcock chicken before? I hadn't before this past summer. Now its a weekly staple in our home.
What is it? Basically you cut a chicken (or any bird) down the backbone. This allows you to splay it flat to cook. Because the bird is flatter it doesn't need as much time to cook and the breasts don't dry out.
You can prep and tenderize the chicken further by soaking it overnight in your fridge. This makes a huge difference. Also if you leave it open air in the fridge it dries out the skin which make it extra crispy. Delish!
How do you Spatchcock a chicken? Here is a great video that explains it well.
Personally I like this most done on the BBQ. Crispy all over!
So of course there are many ways to prep, season and cook a spatchcock chicken. Here is a great recipe that I thought summarizes it all quite well.
- 4 lb whole chicken
- 1 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 8 Campari tomatoes
- 1 large sweet onion or Vidalia onion, peeled and quartered
- Handful green olives
- One night before you plan to roast the chicken, spatchcock (butterfly) it (or ask your butcher to do this part for you). Place the chicken on a cutting board with its backbone facing you. Using a pair of sturdy kitchen shears like this one, cut out the backbone by cutting along both sides of the spine, and remove it. Remove the wing tips. (You can save the backbone and wingtips for making stock, if you like).
- Place the chicken, breast side up, on a large cutting board. Push down on the breastbone. Generously season with salt (and I mean generously) on both sides. Place the chicken, breast side up, on a shallow roasting dish. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.
- One hour before you plan to roast it, pull the chicken out of the fridge and set at room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and adjust an oven rack right in the middle.
- In a small dish, mix the spices. Season the chicken on both sides. Pull its skin up, and apply some of the spice mix underneath as well.
- In a 12-inch cast iron skillet, add just enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom. Heat on medium-high. As soon as the oil is shimmering, add the chicken, breast side down. Brown for 6-8 minutes, then flip over and brown on the other side another 5 minutes or so.
- Transfer the cast iron skillet to the heated oven middle rack. Slide it all way to the back of the oven, with the handle of the pan facing left.
- After 20 minutes, using oven mitts, carefully, turn the skillet 180 degrees so that the handle is now pointing right. Push to the back of the oven again. Roast for another 45 minutes, until the chicken is brown all over and the juices run clear. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
- Optional. If you like, about 20 minutes or so before you pull the chicken out of the oven, add the tomato and onion to a small roasting dish. Toss with olive oil and salt. Place on the lower rack of the oven to roast. When done, add a handful of spicy green olives to the roasted veggies and serve with the chicken.
And there you go! Please give it a try and let us know how it goes.