Although the term sounds a bit mysterious, ‘spatchcocking’ a chicken is simply the method (and easy it is, we promise) of butterflying the bird so that all the parts cook quickly and evenly. Mystery solved! It makes for a fabulously fun family feast, as everyone can help themselves to the piece they so desire. We served the chicken with Potatoes with Chorizo and a simple tossed green salad. Dinner began at 7:00 at ended at 9:15 with scarcely enough chicken left for a sandwich the next day!
Seriously, this is not just for the keen cook! GoodFood Magazine has a video online that will show you exactly how to achieve the perfect spatchcock with minimal effort. As an alternative to the grill, a GF reader noted that she roasted the chicken in the oven at 375°F for 45-60 minutes with wonderful results.
3 lb. chicken, spatchcocked*
a little beer or water for basting
3 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
1 garlic clove, crushed
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 lemons, quartered to serve
Mix together the oil, paprika, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and some salt and pepper. Brush this all over the spatchcocked chicken and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
To cook on the barbecue: cook for 5 minutes on each side in the center, then draw aside to the edges to cook on a gentler heat, turning regularly and basting with water or beer. (If using a gas grill, simply lower the temperature.)
Remove from the heat and leave to rest, covered with foil, for 10-15 minutes. Cut into portions and serve drizzled with lemon juice.
* To spatchcock the chicken, place it breast-side down on a cutting board. Using kitchen scissors (we recommend these) or a sharp knife, cut down each side of the backbone, cutting through the ribs. Discard the backbone, open the chicken and turn it over. With the heel of your hand, flatten the breastbone so that all the meat is of one thickness.