How to Spatchcock a Chicken
Just to let you know, this post was written before I started the paleo diet to help ease my psoriasis. Nowadays I eat a more allergy-friendly diet, but leave these older, non-paleo posts up in case they are useful to readers, as I know not everyone eats the same as I do. Thanks for your understanding.
Spatchcocking is my new favourite way of roasting chicken. It does require a small amount of brute force but get over your squeamishness because it cooks much quicker and I think, results in juicier chicken meat, especially the breast, which can turn stringy and dry if it's roasted for a while.
You can always get your butcher to do this for you, but if you ever fancy spatchcocking a chicken (or another bird) then here's how to do it:
First, place the chicken breast side down on a sturdy chopping board. Cut with a sharp knife or with a pair of heavy-duty kitchen scissors through either side of the spine of the bird and then remove it.
You should be able to now flatten out the bird.
Turn the bird breast side up, and poke in a wooden skewer through the thigh, the breast area and then out near the wing on the other side. You will need to wiggle the skewer around to get past bone and cartilage). Poke another skewer in the opposite direction. This will keep the bird flat while roasting.
At this point, you can marinade your chicken, or simply massage with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
To cook, place in a roasting dish (if you are marinating the chicken, it's a good idea to line the dish with foil) and cook at 200°C for around 1 hour, depending on the size of your chicken (I usually use a 1.2kg sized bird). Always just check that the chicken is cooked through and no pink juices are left before serving - if there is any hint of blood or pink flesh stick it back in the oven for another 10 minutes and check again.
Remove the skewers, carve the chicken and serve.