Pan roasted spatchcocked chicken with seasonal vegetables and salsa verde

Debbie Schembri shows us how to easily spatchcock a chicken for grilling or barbecuing

When spatchcocking a chicken, the breast and thighs will cook at more even times and therefore, the breast will not dry out by the time the legs are done. It also means that you can cook the chicken in a pan and then transfer to the oven, starting the colouration of the skin, otherwise known as the Maillard reaction. Utilising the whole bird is better for the poultry industry as well as it being more cost effective for the consumer

Serves 4 

Ingredients

For the chicken

  • 1 medium sized free range chicken
  • 1 kg baby potatoes
  • 500g Jerusalem artichokes
  • Large bunch kale
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3 tbsp. ground fennel
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

For the salsa verde

  • Big handful parsley
  • Small handful coriander
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 50g capers
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Chilli to taste
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

Method

  1. If you have the time start this recipe off the day before by rubbing the skin of the chicken all over with salt and leaving it uncovered in the fridge. The salt will start to draw out some of the moisture from the skin and the fridge will then dry it out rendering a more crisp skin.
  2. To spatchcock, flip the chicken so that the breast is facing down. Locate the spine and with a pair of scissors, or a knife, cut either side of the back bone until it comes away. Use this as part of your next stock if you like. The chicken will already start to flatten out.
  3. Next find the cartilage located centrally in the breast bone and make a shallow incision down the centre of it until it forces the bird open even more.
  4. Finally just cut off the very tips of the wings as they tend to burn and twist them so that they are tucked up behind the breast. Now season the bird with salt and ground fennel rubbing it evenly along all surfaces including the ‘inside’.
  5. Put a pan on the heat that will fit your chicken very comfortably, with room to spare on the sides. It is important that this pan can also then go into the oven and does not have any plastic handles that will melt!
  6. Drizzle some olive oil, and when hot, place the chicken skin side down into the pan. Leave it there until it takes on a nice dark golden brown colour.
  7. As it is cooking slice the 2 lemons and half the garlic down the middle. Using a pair of tongs lift the chicken and flip it over. Before you put it back in the pan place the lemon and garlic under it. This way the chicken will take on the flavour of the aromatics.
  8. Place the pan into a preheated oven at 190 C. It will take around 45 minutes to cook.
  9. In the meantime, cut your potatoes down the middle. Scrub the Jerusalem artichokes and cut them into pieces roughly the same size as the potatoes. Put a pan of salted water on to boil and once boiling put them both in and leave to cook until tender. Drain and let the steam evaporate. Half way through the cooking time of the chicken open the oven and place them along the sides of the bird. If you don’t have a pan big enough you can transfer everything to a roasting dish.
  10. To make the Salsa Verde take the herbs and chop them till quite fine. Peel and finely chop the garlic along with the capers, anchovies and a little bit of chilli.
  11. Put everything in a small bowl and add in the lemon zest and juice and enough olive oil to reach a thick sauce consistency. This will keep in the fridge for a few days.
  12. Remove the tougher veins from the kale leaves, wash and roughly chop. With 5 minutes left on the cooking time of the chicken open the oven and place the kale under the bird so that it can wilt and soak up all the juices.
  13. To check that the chicken is done stick a knife or skewer into the thigh and if the juices run clear then it is done. Pour a glass of wine and enjoy!

This recipe first appeared on Gourmet Today, November, 2018.

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