Don’t we all desire the same things in a roasted chicken – to be cooked thoroughly, with juicy meat & crispy skin? Rather than merely plonking the whole chicken into a roasting pan, if you butterfly (also called spatchcock) the chicken first, it will cook faster & evenly giving you properly cooked thighs & really succulent breast meat. Never fear, perfecting roasted chicken this way is an easy application to master.
To butterfly a chicken, first you need to flip the chicken onto its breast, & using a good, sharp knife or poultry scissors (or sharp kitchen scissors), cut down either side of the backbone & remove it (I freeze it to later go into chicken broth), then flip the chicken breast-side up & push down on it to flatten it, tuck the wings under & turn the legs out. Then it’s onto a wire rack over a baking sheet. It really is a simple method, don’t be daunted. Stay with me here.
Now we need something to joosh it up a little. As you know, chicken lends itself to most any flavor. I love roasted chicken with fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme & Italian parsley. I use them, along with garlic & crushed red chilies to make a flavored butter.
The flavored butter is spread in between the skin & flesh of the chicken, not only adding aromatics, but also keeping the delicate white meat juicy.
To serve the chicken you can either carve it off the bone or simply cut it into pieces as I’ve done here. I serve the chicken simply with some steamed & buttered green beans or a crisp garden salad.
There’s no need for carb-laden stuffing & gravy when you roast a chicken this way. Butterflying the chicken ensures even cooking & takes less time to roast than whole bird does. This way you’re ensured of crispy skin over the entire bird. That’s the best part! And once you’ve mastered removing the backbone & flattening a chicken, try it with a turkey. Just let it know who is boss ok. Cheers!
PS: Thanks for your patience while my website was getting repaired. Turned out it was a glitch with a WordPress update. They’ve repaired the issue so it’s all fixed now.
- 3 lbs (1.5kg) whole chicken
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons crushed dried chilies
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- Grease a wire rack and place it on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil (this is just to help with easy clean-up). Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Using poultry or good kitchen scissors or a good, sharp knife, cut down either side of the backbone through the flesh & bone to remove it (discard the backbone or save it to add to a homemade broth). Turn the chicken over and press down lightly to flatten it. Flip the chicken breast side up. Place the wing tips back under the chicken (like you would if it was a whole bird) & turn the legs out (as if their 'knees' were facing inwards, see pic of cooked bird). Carefully run your fingers underneath the skin of the chicken loosening it from the flesh. This is where you’re going to spread the butter mixture.
- Combine 1/4 cup butter, parsley, rosemary, thyme, garlic, chilies, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Spread the buttermixture evenly between the skin and the flesh of the chicken across the breast & legs of chicken.
- Place the chicken, breast side up, on the prepared wire rack. Rub with olive oil & sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until the chicken is cooked and the juices run clear when chicken is pierced around the thigh bone or a meat thermometer reads 160°F (82°C) when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.
- Either carve the chicken, or cut into four pieces as I did. I don't rest the chicken as I would normally for meat because I want the skin to stay crispy. Serves 4.