Let’s learn a new thing!
If Netflix can teach America to fold their fitted sheets, we can learn how to make a chicken flat. Welcome to Spatchcocking 101. It’s easy, I promise!
I know that spatchcocking scares a lot of people, but it really is as simple as removing one tiny piece from a chicken! We can do this!
I am a big believer in spatchcocking because it does two very important things. First, it allows you to roast a chicken in roughly half the time because the heat does not have to make its way through a whole bird! Flattening our chicken provides more surface area, which means a more even distribution of heat. This increased surface area also results in a more flavorful bird because we can season and flavor more of the chicken.
So, now that we know why spatchcocking is worthwhile, let’s learn how to do it.
You can use a hefty pair of kitchen shears or a chef’s knife. If I am tackling a Cornish hen, I’ll totally reach for the shears, but I personally feel like a full-sized chicken is a little hard on my shears so I will usually opt for my knife.
Can we pause for a moment to discuss how hard it is to take “pretty” pictures of a mutilated, raw, chicken? I tried, friends, but styling can only help so much.
You are going to want to lay your chicken out in front of you, with the wings facing up and forwards. Find the starting point of the backbone and insert your shears or knife, slicing downwards, and working the knife through the chicken until you reach the opposite end.
Next, find the other side of the backbone and repeat the same process on the opposite side so that the backbone is completely removed.
Discard the backbone and flip the chicken over so that the cut side faces down. Now you will want to press down on the chicken, or take hold of each side and turn upwards until you hear a snap. The goal here is to break the breast bone.
That’s it! You have graduated from spatchcocking school and you should be feeling all kinds of proud, or thoroughly disgusted. Either way, let’s make dinner!
Now we get to add flavor. I am IN LOVE with this combination of lemon and garlic and cannot stop making it!
I season both sides of the chicken with salt and lay it down on a bed of olive oil, garlic, and lemon slices. The lemons will become bitter as the chicken roasts, adding this lovely, bold, burst of citrus, and the garlic with soften and caramelize.
Just look at that color!! And the best part? We got here in under an hour!
Now, you could carve your beautiful bird and call it a day, but I like to turn all of these incredible renderings into a sauce which can be poured over the chicken.
These flavorful drippings become a velvety gravy in less than five minutes.
Did I mention that carving a spatchcocked bird is far easier than a whole chicken? It really is.
Toss together a salad and serve alongside potatoes - it’s that easy!
We learned something new and made ourselves dinner all at once. That’s a pretty fine way to kick off the week in my opinion.
Spatchcocked Chicken with Bitter Lemon & Garlic
5-6 lb whole chicken, neck and gizzards discarded
1 large lemon, sliced 1/4-inch thick (seeds removed)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
Rinse the outside and inner cavity of your chicken thoroughly under cold water. Lay out onto a large cutting board and pat dry with several paper towels. Place the chicken in front of you with the wings facing upwards and forward. Find the starting point of the backbone and insert a very sharp, heavy knife. Slice downwards, working the knife through the chicken until you reach the opposite end.
Next, find the other side of the backbone and repeat the same process on the other side so that the backbone is completely removed.
Discard the backbone and flip the chicken over so that the cut side faces down. Press down on the chicken, or grab each side and turn upwards until you hear a snap. The goal here is to break the breast bone. Now you have successfully spatchcocked a chicken!
Once your chicken is flat, prepare a 9x13 roasting pan by drizzling with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and making an even layer of garlic and lemon across the bottom of the pan. Flip your chicken over and season the bottom with 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Lay the chicken cut-side down onto the lemons and garlic.
Next, drizzle the top half of your chicken with the remaining olive oil and massage into the skin. Sprinkle with remaining salt and a light layer of freshly ground black pepper.
Place the roasting pan on the top shelf of your oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the skin is crisp and golden and the internal temperature of the chicken registers at 165 degrees F.
Transfer the chicken to a large cutting board and allow to rest for a few minutes before carving. Prepare the gravy.
Pour all of the contents of your roasting pan into a small saucepan and set over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer.
In a small jar, make a slurry by shaking together cornstarch and water. Quickly whisk into the simmering pan drippings and continue stirring until the mixture is thick and smooth, then remove from heat.
Pour the gravy over the carved chicken and serve alongside roasted potatoes and a green salad.