the sunday project
with Ellen Kelly
Spatchcock is an old-fashioned term, both noun and verb, that has recently come back into vogue. It basically means to butterfly, but refers only to fowl. A spatchcock chicken not only saves time – it cooks in about half the time of a whole 4 lb. bird – but if you’re pulling one out of the freezer, you’re almost done! Once mastered – and it’s so much easier than it looks – a spatchcock chicken will garner oohs and aahs from friends and family. It’s equally perfect for a quick weekday meal or gussied up for company, marinated or not. Speaking of which, the marinade ingredients are limited only by your imagination. Furthermore, in the spirit of ease and convenience, there are lots of delicious bottled dressings and marinades out there. Now you have no excuse!
Spatchcock Chicken/Turkey Place a four pound chicken breast-side down on a cutting board and with a good, sharp pair of kitchen shears, carefully – but with determination – cut along one side of the backbone, then repeat down the other side. Save the backbone for stock. Snip the cartilage at the top of the breast to facilitate flattening. Spread out the bird, breast side up, and gently, but firmly, press down to flatten. Don’t be alarmed if you hear a crack. Assemble the ingredients for the marinade: Lemons Garlic Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley, etc.) Olive oil Splash of wine and/or white balsamic vinegar Salt, pepper Chile flakes (optional)
Slice the lemons, crush the garlic and coarsely chop or tear the herbs; squeeze the ingredients to release the juices and combine before adding the bird. Marinate the chicken for about 3-4 hours or even overnight in the refrigerator, turning occasionally to distribute the marinade. When ready to roast, preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the marinade solids under the bird on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet. Liberally salt and pepper the chicken and pop in the oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, slice 4-5 shallots into rounds, toss in olive oil and, after the 20 minutes is up, scatter them around the bird. Continue to roast for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 160°F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast. Be careful it doesn’t touch bone or the baking sheet. When finished, let the bird rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10-15 minutes, then cut into portions – legs, thighs, wings and halved breasts. Serve topped with the shallots and cooked lemon rounds. OPTIONAL TRICKS: Twist the tips of the wings behind the breast to avoid burning. Before putting the bird in the oven, carefully loosen the skin on the breast and insert a slice of lemon or a piece or two of parsley from the marinade on top of the breast, on each side. Marinated birds can be frozen in the marinade. FOR A 12 LB. TURKEY: preheat the oven to 425°F and roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165°F. Test for doneness on both thigh and breast. The bird can be deconstructed if there’s not enough room. Just remove the leg and thigh at the joint as a single piece and lay the two pieces on the sheet however they’ll fit. You’ll never look back!
CITYPALATE.ca NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2017