A whole bird that has been split and flattened cooks almost as quickly as parts but retains the irresistible juiciness of good roast chicken. Unfortunately, supermarket butchers won't split it for you, but you can do so yourself at home (see below). You can brine the chicken (see page 167), if you like. Otherwise, roast it with a mustard and herb paste slipped between the skin and flesh. Serve with Roasted Onion Wedges (page 266), Crusty Smashed Potatoes (page 260), or Winter Squashes Roasted in Chunks (page 270).
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 3-to-3-1/2-pound chicken, backbone removed
and flattened (see below)
Juice of 1 lemon
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, oil, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Place the chicken in a roasting pan, skin side up. Create a space between the skin and flesh of the chicken by gently inserting your finger under the skin at the neck end and working it away from the flesh. Spoon half of the mustard mixture between the skin and flesh, beginning at the neck and moving along the breast and thigh, then rub the remaining mixture onto the skin. (If preparing in advance, cover the chicken loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 4 hours or up to overnight.)
Set the oven at 400 degrees.
Place the chicken, skin side up, in a roasting pan. Tuck the ends of the wings under the bird. Bend the legs up so the thighs sit high on the breast and protect the bottom of the breast from drying out.
Roast the chicken for 50 to 60 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 degrees. Set in a warm place for 5 minutes.
With poultry shears, cut the chicken into 10 pieces (see page 194 of the book). Arrange them on a platter, sprinkle with lemon juice and serve.
Have on hand several sheets of paper towels, a paring knife, and poultry or kitchen shears. Place a broiling or frying chicken (3 to 3-1/2 pounds) on a cutting board, breast side down. With the shears, cut along either side of the backbone and lift it out. (Freeze it for making stock.) with paper towels, wipe out the cavity, removing any soft pieces clinging to the edge where the backbone was cut away. Trim off and discard the excess fat.
Place a hand on either side of the back where the backbone was, then press down on the chicken so it opens and you can see the breastbone. With the paring knife, make a 1/4-inch incision through the cartilage just above the breastbone until you reach a deep red diamond- shaped bone. Using your hands, fold the breasts toward each other (you'll fold the skin, too), so the reddish bone pops out. Lift the bone out with your fingers (just keep wiggling if it's stubborn).
The Way We Cook
Recipes from the New American Kitchen
by Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven
Hardcover; 400 pages
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created June 2003
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