Spatchcocked & Braise-Roasted chicken


Spatchcocked and Braised-Roasted Chicken  |  Rice  |  Steamed Peas

Okay, so I changed my mind.  Tonight’s menu, as it appeared on last Friday’s post, called for mashed potatoes {NOT rice} and, quite frankly, I didn’t feel like having mashed potatoes tonight.  That’s it!  No shortage of Yukon Golds here in Marin County, CA…I just wanted simple, boiled rice.  The roasted chicken has SUCH incredible flavor, it did not need a rich, heavy side, such as my mashed potatoes. This succulent chicken could stand on it’s own with simple white rice {drizzled with some of the pan juices} and tender, steamed peas.  So sorry if you wanted mashed potatoes tonight…but, take heart ~ St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner!

What is “spatchcocked“?  According to my on-line dictionary:  “noun - flesh of a chicken {or game bird} split down the back and grilled {usually, immediately after being killed}“.  My translation is a butterflied chicken…grilled if you choose, or cooked otherwise.  As far as the “immediately after being killed” portion of the definition…I trust my local butcher or Whole Foods for matters of freshness.

For this recipe you will need to “spatchcock” the whole chicken or, a.k.a remove the backbone/butterfly the bird.  While it was impossible for me, alone, to take photos of this “de-backing” process with my birds tonight, you can click here for a great video showing you how to do exactly that.  Once you have “spatchcocked” your chicken{s}, please join the rest of the class…{NOTE:  NO points are deducted from your final grade if you have your butcher “spatchcock” your birds for you}

Spatchcocked and Braised-Roasted Chicken  {adapted from…I basically doubled the original recipe, except for the garlic, for our 2 birds}

  • 2 {3½-4 pound} whole chickens
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large shallots, thinly-sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, lightly smashed {with skins left on}
  • 4-6 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 16-20 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 cup dry white wine {I used Dry Vermouth}
  • 3 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 2 lemons, cut into thin slices {I used Meyer lemons, skin left on & seeds discarded}
  1. Heat oven to 425°F.  Spatchcock your birds… Click here to see how to cut the backbone out of the chicken{s}.  Generously season the chickens all-over with salt & pepper. {Reserve chicken backs for soup stock}
  2. In a large, shallow roasting pan {large enough to fit both birds} melt the butter in the oil over medium-high heat.  When the foam subsides, add the chicken, skin-side down, and brown well, 6-8 minutes.  Remove birds to a plate or cutting board.  Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan.
  3. Set the pan back on the stovetop.  Add the shallots and garlic & cook over medium heat until the shallots have softened, about 2 minutes.  Add the herbs and Vermouth.  Increase the heat and boil off nearly all of the Vermouth.  Add 2 cups of the chicken broth and the lemon slices.  Gently lower the chicken back into the pan…skin-side up.
  4. If needed, add more stock to come ½-inch up the side of the pan.  Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and braise-roast until the chicken is cooked through {each bird reaching an internal temperature of 165ºF}, 45-55 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chickens to a cutting board and allow to rest for 15 minutes ~ uncovered {or the skin will soften}.  Carve the bird.  Serve chicken with drizzled pan juices, simple white rice & peas.

Let’s begin with the butterflied & seasoned chickens…


Followed by the rest of the ingredients, mise en place, remember…


By the way…the easiest way to smash garlic.  Cover the cloves with a {paper} towel and smash with the dull-end of a meat pounder…

The birds after the initial browning…

Add the herbs, stock & lemon slices to the roasting pan…

And the finished birds, right from the oven…


This was our dinner plate tonight ~

Dark meat lovers version…


White meat lovers version…

In the end, why all the excitement over “spatchcocking” or butterflying the chickens!  Basically, it creates a bird that roasts more evenly and is quite a bit easier to carve.  Our birds tonight were so incredibly moist!  By-the-way…the chicken backbones, which were removed from the birds, were put into my simmering chicken stock today and the left-over chicken meat will make for wonderful lunch sandwiches, for the whole family, tomorrow!


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