Saturday, May 5, 2012

I'll have the Spatchcock Chicken, please

Carving the Spatchcock Chicken by annbumbly
My dad carving our spatchcock chicken - he's one mean bird carver!
My mom, a really really good cook/kitchen general/chef, started roasting spatchcocked chickens about a year ago and now won't do roasted chickens any other way! I wholeheartedly agree! They are beyond perfection!
Spatchcock means you cut out the backbone of the bird and break the beast bone so the chicken (or turkey/quail/squab) lies flat. This allows all the skin to uniformly brown and both the breasts and thighs be done at the same time. Results? Delicious! 
When she first started roasting chickens this way, she'd first put 1/4" slices of onions in the pan with slices of lemons on top for the chicken's "trivet". Now she uses a mandolin to very very thinly slice the onions then the lemons for the trivet. What a difference! These onion & lemon slices cook to the point that they are falling apart and are just delicious as a side to serve over the top of the chicken. I'm tellin' ya, once you spatchcock, you won't go back! 
Mom also made a big mess of greens and beans to serve with our spatchcock chicken (recipe follows). That particular night we had a mix of mustard greens, kale and collard. Really doesn't matter what greens you use, or what combination, it's all so very good! In the past I've always used just escarole because it's the one green that didn't scare me, but now the sky's the limit! I'm willing to try any combination of those gorgeous greens! (See below greens recipe for more photos.)

The Spatchcock Chicken T'nG (in mom's words):

Preheat oven to 425º.

1 chicken 2 1/2 lbs. to no more than 3 1/2 lbs. (get to know your butcher - most chickens in the case are much larger than this. If you ask your butcher for one of their uncooked rotisserie chickens, you'll get a good one!)

Remove any excess fat and skin. With poultry shears or Joyce Chen clippers, cut along both sides of the backbone, removing it. I find it easier to cut through the bones if you first cut through the skin along each side of the spine. Save the backbone to make chicken stock. (Start a bag and store it in the freezer till you have enough to make stock.) Place the bird, breast side up, on a flat surface and push down on the breast bone to break it and flatten (spatchcock) it.  

Lightly coat a shallow baking dish with olive oil. To that add: 

1 large onion sliced very thinly - use a mandolin
1 lemon, sliced very thinly

Mix the lemon with the onion and spread in the baking dish(1). Add to that fresh thyme sprigs, fresh rosemary, fresh sage leaves; any herbs you like or have on hand - be sure to evenly scatter over your onion and lemon slices(1). Set the bird on top and bring the legs around so they fit flat and just under the breast (see above, or click on above photo to see more pics of the process), and also below pics  2&3). Lightly coat the chicken with olive oil and then season with more herbs, red pepper flakes/cayenne, salt, black pepper, and any other seasoning of your choice(4). Squeeze juice of a lemon over the bird. 

Bake for about an hour or until thermometer reads 165º (chicken will keep "cooking" after you take it out of the oven for some minutes). If it's browning too quickly, reduce the oven temp to 375º. Let chicken rest for 5 - 10 minutes before carving(5).

Serve pan juices with all the onion and lemon bits with the chicken. Encourage folks to put this strange looking stuff on their chicken serving. And be sure to save any left over pan juices after dinner to freeze for future sauces, gravies or soups. 


Beans & Greens
(last photo, below)

The B&G T'nG (in mom's words):

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 lb. kale, rinsed and cut into 1" sliced, crosswise
1 lemon, juiced
salt & pepper to taste
2 15 oz. cans cannellini/white beans, rinsed well
EVOO for drizzling - optional

Heat oil in a large sauté pan and, when hot, add the onion, garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant; about 30 seconds. Add the kale and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon over the kale and stir. Fold in the beans, cover and simmer until the kale is wilted and cooked through, about 20 minutes. To serve, transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with EVOO.

Mom writes: "This can be altered to serve 2 people, and remember both of these recipes are just a starting point! Different greens, other beans or whatever. Herbs are up to you as well."







Beans & Greens



'till we feast again!

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