Roast chicken makes a classic family-friendly meal, but often takes too long on a weeknight. A simple method called spatchcocking – essentially butterflying a whole chicken – makes it easier to cook through evenly in far less time, while ensuring the breast meat doesn’t dry out.
whole chicken (or chickens)
canola or olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. To spatchcock a chicken, turn it breast-side down on a cutting board. Using sharp kitchen shears and starting at the cavity end, cut along one side of the spine, then the other side, and remove it. (It can be used to make stock, if you like.)
2. Open the bird like a book, flip it over and flatten it, pressing down on the breast and turning the legs so that they lie flat as well. (You can use your favourite roast chicken recipe, but just reduce the cooking time by about a third.)
3. Pat the skin dry with paper towel, rub it all over with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in a 425˚F oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350˚F and cook for 15-20 minutes longer, until the juices run clear and legs wiggle easily in their sockets. Each spatchcocked chicken serves 4-6, depending on size and appetites.
TIP: Cook two chickens at once, and you’ll have a head start on another meal with hardly any extra effort.
PER THIGH (meat & skin):
153 calories, 9.6 g fat (2.7 g saturated fat, 2.1 g polyunsaturated fat, 3 g monounsaturated fat), 15.5 g protein, 0 g carbohydrates, 58 mg cholesterol, 0 g fibre.
PER BREAST HALF (meat & skin):
193 calories, 7.6 g fat (2.1 g saturated fat, 1.6 g polyunsaturated fat, 3.8 g monounsaturated fat), 29 g protein, 0 g carbohydrates, 82 mg cholesterol, 0 g fibre.