I don’t know about you, but cooking a chunk of meat larger than the size of my head sometimes intimidates me. How do I get the thing to cook evenly? Do I need to rotate it? Breast side up or down? Will it implode like Clark Griswold’s turkey on Christmas Vacation? Ah, I have the perfect recipe for you..the chicken skin thin and crisp, the meat succulent and the sauce divine. Best of all, its so easy.
I was inspired by watching Joanne Weir’s cooking show on PBS last night. The secret is to split the bird, or spatchcock, by using sharp kitchen shears to cut out the backbone. With the whole bird on the cutting board, breast side down, take your shears and start at the tail end, about 1″ to the right of the backbone. Cut all the way up to the neck. Repeat on the other side of the backbone. Flip the bird over, and using the palms of your hands, push to flatten out the bird even more. The flatter, the better, as more of the surface will touch the hot pan and crisp the skin. See video of how to spatchcock the chicken.
The sauce is so simple and only takes minutes to finish!
Roast Split Chicken with Lemony Artichoke Sauce
Recipe adapted from Joanne Weir (television episode). You can either used fresh artichoke or canned artichoke. To trim fresh artichokes, see these step by step instructions.
One 3.5 pound organic chicken, spatchcocked
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 whole artichoke, trimmed or 6 ounces drained canned artichoke hearts, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley
1/2 cup white wine
1. Preheat your oven to 475F. On your stove top, heat a large oven safe frying pan on high heat (big enough to fit the bird, and one that can withstand high heat in the oven. I prefer cast iron). Swirl in oil. While the pan heats up, make sure your bird is patted as dry as possible. When the pan is very hot - gently place the bird SKIN side down in the pan. Season the top of bird with salt and pepper. Immediately place the entire pan in oven for 10 minutes.
2. Carefully remove hot pan from oven. flip the bird over. The skin should be beautifully golden and crisp. Generously season the skin side with salt and pepper. Return pan to the oven. Roast another 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, place chicken on a plate and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
3. Put the hot pan (careful! the pan is very hot still!) on the stovetop. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the pan drippings. Add the artichokes and fry until softened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, dried thyme, wine, lemon. Reduce the sauce by half, about 2 minutes more. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley. Serve chicken with sauce.