Sunday, July 15, 2012

Spatchcocked Roast Chicken

The Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market had a new vender today, Fair Valley Farm, offering pastured poultry, pork, and in future weeks, lamb and beef. Farmers Scott and Jenni Timms are a welcome addition to our neighborhood market, offering one stop shopping for a scrumptious weekend meal. 

The chicken we purchased from them was a diminutive 1.6 pounds. We prepared it by spatchcocking (removing the backbone) and roasting for just 25 minutes in a cast iron skillet, seasoned simply with salt and pepper so that we could taste the fresh flavor of the meat. I must admit that I'm not always a big poultry fan, but this chicken was stupendous. It came out crispy and succulent with a minimal amount of labor. We enjoyed it with farm fresh baby potatoes, green beans, and a sauteed cherry tomato and scallion relish. And while savoring this lovely and relaxed Sunday evening meal, I was secretly marveling at the fact that this could easily be pulled off on a busy weekend night. We're looking forward to more Fair Valley Farm chickens this summer.

Spatchcocked Roast Chicken

1 small chicken (about 2 pounds, although this technique works for larger birds as well)
salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

2. Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut along each side of the backbone from the neck to the tail, and remove the backbone (simmer for 30 minutes with a chopped onion and carrot in a quart of salted water for a quick stock). Spread the chicken out and push down on the breast bone until you feel it break, or use a knife to cut it apart as in the video link above, so that the bird lies flat. Generously salt and pepper the chicken on both sides.

3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When the skillet is hot, place the bird breast side down and cook for about 5 minutes until the skin has browned a bit. Flip the bird oven and place the pan in the hot oven. Roast for about 25 minutes, until the skin is nicely browned all over and the juices run clear when you pierce the thigh. Enjoy.

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