Roasting a whole chicken that is moist and not dried out can be difficult. The goal is to have the breast 150ºF and the thigh 175ºF. The problem with cooking a whole chicken is by the time the thigh reaches 175ºF the breast is overcooked and dries out. The solution is to remove the chicken’s backbone and then flatten the bird by cracking the breastbone. The technique is called spatchcocking. When the bird is flattened, the legs and thighs cook faster than the breast because they aren’t as dense and are exposed to higher temperatures from the oven walls. Since this bird is cooked at a high temperature, cover chicken with foil to prevent over browning.
Spatchcocked Herb Roasted Chicken with Simple Pan Gravy
½ tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
½ tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 (4-5 pound) whole chicken
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
Simple Pan Gravy, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place a wire baking rack (the kind you cool cookies and cakes on) inside a rimmed baking pan. Set aside. Combine basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper and oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
Remove chicken from plastic wrapping (I wear disposable gloves). Place on a cutting board. Cut backbone from chicken with kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. Turn bird over (skin side up) and press on breastbone to flatten. You should hear bones crack. Place on wire rack, skin side up. Dry bird on both sides with paper towels. Spread herb oil mixture on both sides of bird.
Tent bird with foil. Bake 25 minutes. Check chicken periodically. If it is starting to get too brown make sure chicken is completely covered with foil. Remove bird from oven, remove foil and drizzle butter over bird. Recover with foil and bake 10-15 minutes more or until breast is 150ºF in the thickest part and thigh is 175º. Make sure not to touch any bones when taking temperature. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with Simple Pan Gravy.
Simple Pan Gravy
4 tablespoons chicken drippings from pan
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups 33% lower sodium chicken broth
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Measure pan drippings. If needed, add additional oil to make 4 tablespoons. Stir in flour with a whisk to make a roux. Cook roux over medium high heat until mixture is bubbling all over. Cook, stirring constantly, an additional minute. Gradually add broth and whisk until mixture is thickened and bubbling. Season to taste, with salt and pepper.
Published in The News and Neighbor on January 30, 2019.