Also known as butterflying, spatchcocking is a simple prep technique that cuts down the time needed to roast a chicken. It does this by changing the shape of the bird, transforming it from a slow cooking football to a faster roasting slab. And the only special equipment you need is a sturdy pair of kitchen shears.
To do this, simply flip the uncooked chicken so the breasts are down. Starting at either the front or back end, find the centre, where the backbone runs down the length of the bird. It will take a little oomph at first, but use the shears to cut down the length of the backbone on one side. Once you have cut all the way, repeat this on the other side of the backbone, which then should come out easily.
Now flip the bird over, grab the cut sides and spread the bird open. Press down on the bird between the breasts; the goal is to flatten it as much as possible. Once spatchcocked, the chicken can be seasoned and roasted as normal, but will take less time. A standard 1 1/2- to 2-kilogram chicken roasted at 218°C will take almost an hour. A spatchcocked chicken takes about 35 minutes.
Now that you have mastered on how to speed up your dinner, you can jazz it up a bit by adding in some flavors.
Here are some fresh ideas for making your chicken dinner way more interesting.
Ways with roast chicken:
Start with a 1 1/4- to 2-kilogram whole chicken. Remove any giblets and neck from the cavity, then use paper towels to pat it dry. Spatchcock the chicken as described above. Place the chicken in a roasting pan. Follow one of the flavoring directions below, then roast at 204 Degrees Celsius until the breast reaches 71 Degrees Celsius and the thigh reaches 79 Degrees Celsius. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Citrus-pepper: Blend in four tablespoons softened unsalted butter with two teaspoons black pepper, one teaspoon kosher salt and the zest of two oranges and two lemons. Rub the mixture under and over the skin of the chicken and inside the cavity.
Simple soy: Drizzle and brush 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce all over the inside and outside of the chicken, making sure to thoroughly coat all parts.
Aromatic: Underneath the chicken, place a sliced small onion along with 2 sprigs each of fresh rosemary, thyme and sage. Brush the skin of the chicken with melted butter, then season with kosher salt and black pepper.
Curry: Rub three tablespoons red curry paste under and over the skin of the chicken, as well as on the inside. Set the chicken over sliced onions and brush the outside with melted butter.
Barbecue: Mix together two tablespoons brown sugar, one teaspoon dried thyme, one teaspoon kosher salt, one teaspoon chili powder, one teaspoon garlic powder, one teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Brush the chicken all over with melted butter, then season with the rub under and over the skin and on the inside.
Coriander-orange: Blend one tablespoon ground coriander, one teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, the zest of two oranges and four tablespoons softened butter. Rub under and over the skin of the chicken and on the inside.
Coconut-lime: Open a ¼ kilogram can of coconut milk taking care to not shake it. Spoon off the thick cream from the top of the can and mix that with the zest of two limes, one teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Rub under and over the skin of the chicken and on the inside. While the chicken roasts, stir together two tablespoons lime juice with 1/2 cup of the coconut milk in the can; season with salt and a pinch of cayenne. Serve with the roasted chicken.
Parmesan: Stir together 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, one tablespoon minced fresh rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Brush the chicken with melted butter, and then thoroughly coat with it the cheese mixture.