Friday Night Home Date - Spatchcock!

Butterflied Bird with Lemon and Rosemary

Now before you start thinking that I’m going all medieval on my poultry, let me clarify what “spatchcock” means, and that is simply: a whole chicken with the backbone removed and laid out flat, or butterflied. If you need to know more or are etymologically inclined, check this out.

This is such a great way to roast a whole bird since you can season it well, and it cooks faster and more evenly than it would in its usual form. All you need is a whole chicken and good pair of kitchen shears. Or, even better, ask the professional person behind the meat counter to do the dirty work for you.

We often eat a simply roasted chicken on Friday evenings. It’s tasty, comforting and sometimes there are even leftovers for a weekend lunch.

While the oven is on, I usually throw in a pan of whatever root vegetables I have on hand, cut up and tossed with some olive oil, to cook alongside the bird.

Simple Spatchcocked Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary

1 3-4 pound whole chicken, backbone removed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Heat your oven to 425 degrees.

Mix together the salt, pepper, rosemary, olive oil, lemon zest and juice in a small bowl. Smear the mixture all over the chicken, front and back.

Place a large ovenproof skillet (I use cast iron) over medium-high heat until just smoking, and coat the pan with a little oil. Put the chicken in the pan skin side down and place another heavy skillet on top of the chicken to weigh it down. If you don’t have another pan, just use a small baking sheet with and a brick or large can of tomatoes placed on top. Cook about ten minutes, until the skin starts to turn a nice golden shade of brown.

Remove the weight, turn the chicken over with tongs - gently, so you don’t tear into the delicious, crisp skin - and transfer to the oven to finish cooking, about 12-15 more minutes depending on the size of the chicken.

Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food


Tony said...

I find there's nothing tastier of a Friday evening than a spatchcocked tofurky.


Karen said...

Tony, for you, I would spatchcock a tofurky any day. How about some Tofutti for dessert?

Tony said...



Kristen said...

Looks fantastic!

JO said...

I love it...I do mine a bit differently. I mix a season with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and tarragon. I put this under and on the skin and roast at 475 for 35 to 40 minutes....delicious.

Karen said...

Jo, that sounds pretty darn good...