The Joy of Spatchcocking

Okay, I’ll admit that to the uninitiated that title may sound a little off, but trust me, it’s totally legit and the results are thoroughly delicious.  Spatchcocking is just another way to roast or grill a whole chicken, and frankly it’s my favorite.  My chef instructor taught me how to truss in the French tradition, but why truss when you can spatchcock?  Besides, it’s a much cooler word.

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Basically a spatchcock is a chicken that has been flattened out but is otherwise intact.  To accomplish that, simply cut out the spine with your chef’s knife or some heavy duty kitchen shears, turn it breast side up, and press it down until you hear the breastbone crack and the chicken lays flat.  Lay the legs out to the sides and tuck the wings underneath.  That’s all there is to it.  You’ll get a fast, even roast and a very juicy finished product with this method.

To cook your bird, here’s a suggestion:  line a large baking sheet with foil and place a rack on top of it.  Place the bird on the rack and season to your heart’s content.  Tonight I rubbed this one with olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt, cracked pepper, paprika and dried thyme.  For extra crispy skin you can carefully loosen the skin from the flesh by sliding two fingers underneath, and rub a little salt between them.  Bake your bird in a 450° oven for about 40-45 minutes, then rest it on a cutting board covered loosely with foil for 10 minutes.

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While the chicken is resting you can make a simple pan gravy from the drippings.  Pour them into a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk in a roughly equal amount of flour to make a roux, and then start stirring in chicken stock until you hit the consistency you like.  Season with some salt and white pepper, and you’re in business.

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We were extremely pleased with the results, which came together in about an hour, maybe a bit more, and we munched it down with a big happy grin on our faces.  I hope you will too.  Until next time:  Eat well, my friends!

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