Friday, 26 June 2009

So You Feel Like Doing a Spot of Spatchcocking, Do You?

The response I had in the last post regarding the arcane and mysterious art of spatchcocking was tremendous, so I thought I should post the recipe so you could all try a spot of spatchcocking this weekend...I do hope the weather is with you, as it is always best to spatchcock whilst the sun shines.
Anyway, no picture I'm afraid, we sucked the flesh of the poor animal's bones way before I even thought of getting the camera out, and the only pictures I could find of spatchcocked bird on the internet belonged to other bloggers, and I draw the line at passing off someones elses spatchcocking as my own. That, gentle reader, just wouldn't be cricket.
So, a spatchcocked bird is a flattened whole bird. Flattening a whole bird is a good idea for the following reasons.
  1. It takes a marinade incredibly well, an unflattened bird does not.
  2. It is more economical to spatchcock and marinade than buy various chicken pieces and marinade.
  3. You can cook a whole chicken in half the time if it is flattened.
  4. You generally grill a spatchcocked bird. This means the skin is crisp and barbecued, the flesh is beautifully moist and you can really taste the marinade ingredients.
  5. Keeping chicken on the bone, always makes it more moist and tasty.

So here's how you flatten a bird.

Turn your chicken breast side down. With a stout pair of poultry/kitchen scissors cut along the middle of the chicken, pretty much alongside the bird's spinal column. It is best to start at the side of the parson's nose.

Now, cut along the other side of the parson's nose so you have removed the entire backbone of the bird.

Turn the bird breast side up. With both your hand press down hard on the mid section of the chicken to break its breastbone. I find this easy as I put my, not inconsiderable, weight behind the activity. But featherweights may need to give it some welly, or just give up as it will be fine either way.

Next snip off the wing tips as they burn easily.

Now, make small slits in the skin of the chicken breast and slip the bottom the chicken legs into these skin pockets. This is to make the chicken flat for cooking, but means you don't have to faff around with bamboo skewers.


Congratulations, you have just done extreme violence to a chicken, therefore, my friend, you have spatchcocked. Now, you must bathe the bird in all the herbs and spices of Arabia. Or, pop it in a casserole with some lemon juice, garlic (crushed but still with skin), rosemary (or oregano, thyme, whatever) and a goodly glug of olive oil. Marinade for as long as you can, overnight if possible.

A spatchcocked bird is best cooked on a barbecue. Make sure your coals are just right and cook for roughly twenty minutes each side. Check in its fleshy crevices to make sure the juices run clear before you gobble it up. It's best to let it rest for ten minutes or so before you do eat it. You can grill (broil USA?) the bird, I've done this, but blimey, make sure your extractor fan is up high and all of the windows are open, as, as the song goes, smoke gets in your eyes! I have not roasted a spatchcock, but I hear tell it takes next to no time, compared with an unflattened bird.

So with that I'll say, happy spatchcocking, goode huswives and anon!


monix said...

This is the best method for barbecued chicken, don't you think? There is a video clip of James Martin demonstrating how to do it here

Dulce Domum said...

Cheers Monix!

Gumbo Lily said...

Yum! That does sound good. Reminds me of watching Jamie Something-or-other doing chicken on the grill. He marinaded the whole bird and then put it into the oven for 1 1/2 hrs and finished it off on the grill to crisp the skin. Thanks for 'splaining that to me.


Anonymous said...

Sounds delish. I like that you can do it on the barbecue. I may just have a try! :)


Marie N. said...

I really enjoy cooking with marinades, but I'd not heard of this method of preparing the bird. You're always teaching me some new kitchen tips -- I love it!

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Marie
It is a bit of a faff, but it's really worth it!

Gretchen Joanna said...

I am completely charmed, on encountering your blog, by the title, Bread and Roses, and by the Lewis quote, and by the first entry I read, on spatchcocking, a word I'd never heard. A new word! A new cooking technique! A new blog to follow! Thank you for posting.