Wednesday, 20 February 2013

glamorous mid-week chicken

... as you know, I love my slow-cooked food but I realise that this long, relaxed way of cooking doesn't always work for all of us all the time... sometimes we need a quick solution for a mid-week, glamorous meal that's just as fabulous and I think i've cracked it with this butterfly chicken... The butterflying technique is a simple as picking up a pair of scissors and cutting out the backbone, it also means the cooking time is considerably reduced... but if you're squeamish you can ask your butcher to do it for you... and then with just a few added vegetables and bit of butter you'll have an all-in-one meal that is fast, super-tasty and will impress those who may need impressing, beyond any doubt...

... plus... and I hope i'm not coming across too '1950's Housewife' on you here... but you can also turn this glorious meal into at least one, if not two other meals with an extremely tasty soup made from the roasted carcass and with any left-over meat I always like to throw together a little chicken pilaf... so all in all it's fast, tasty and thrifty too... a win-win-win!

glamorous mid-week chicken
now listen here you lot... I won't lie, butterflying a chicken is gruesome... for about 7 seconds... and then it's over and you have something very pretty to serve up... and it can be done in three easy steps:

1. turn the chicken over on to its breast then take your index finger and third finger and run them back and forth along the backbone, just so you know where it is and get an understanding of its shape.
2. take a pair of kitchen shears or scissors and snip along either side of the backbone from bottom to neck - remove this length of gristle and flesh and save it for stock or soup
3. turn the chicken back over, push down on the breast to flatten out the chicken and pull the wings over the top of the breast as shown in the finished photo above.

see... gruesome but so simple...

1 large free range chicken
150g butter -softened
a sprig of fresh rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh lemon thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 carrot cut into batons
1 onion - cut into small wedges
2 sticks of celery - cut into chunks
6 chestnut mushrooms - quartered
4 cloves of garlic - un-peeled
a handful of new potatoes

pre-heat your oven to 190C

throw all the prepped veg into the bottom of a roasting tin and lay the butterflied chicken on top

de-stalk and chop up all your herbs nice and small and mix them into the butter, then spread this all over the top of the chicken, season and roast in a pre-heated oven for 1hour at 190C... check on it after half an hour and add a splash of water from the kettle...

once it's nice and golden, take it out of the oven and leave it, covered in a tea towel whilst you microwave some frozen peas, as a little added greenery will lift the whole meal to utter perfection

roast chicken and spinach soup
once the chicken has been devoured you'll usually find there's quite a bit of flesh left in the crevasses of the carcass... I always pop the whole lot in the fridge and wait till the next day to prep the soup. Then I break the whole lot down into smaller bits, cover with cold water, a couple of teaspoons of powdered vegetable stock and freshen it up with one whole carrot cut into chunks, a stick of celery cut the same way and a wedge or two of onion... I also throw in about 5 or 6 whole peppercorns for some added power... it was gently simmered for about 2 hours, cooled and then I picked the flesh from the bones, removing as much of the carcass as I could get my sticky hands on... I reheated it before serving adding the spinach which came from a half used bag, just before serving...

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. wow that looks delicious. I've never butterfly-ed a chicken but I think I'd like to have a go after seeing how good it looks.

  2. OK, I think I can manage seven seconds. Deep breath... (only kidding!) Looks gorgeous as ever.

  3. I love the idea of this quick way to roast a chicken - perfect for a delicious supper.

  4. Gorgeous, perfect mid week roast. My husband once saw me butterfly a chicken for a BBQ - he was slightly scared - it looks brutal but totally worth it!

  5. Your chicken looks so plump and delicious. I agree, cutting out the backbone for the first time is like sticking your hands inside the Thanksgiving turkey to remove the neck and gizzards before you stuff it. Not a pleasant chore but a necessity. There is such a sense of satisfaction getting more than one meal out of a dish. Such a healthy soup for these cold February days.

  6. LOL.. yes, butterflying can be a tad gruesome, but once you do it... you'll want to do it all the time :)
    Love this recipe.. and it proves you can still have a meal that tastes like it took all day to make in half the time :)

  7. I've done a butterflied chicken and it wasn't difficult at all, definitely a great way to serve chicken. And yes, you did come over all '1950s housewife' but that added to the charm ;-)

  8. I'm not sure I've ever tried butterflying a chicken but as you say gruesome but simple. It would be great to have a midweek roast dinner, maybe a little coronation chicken for sandwiches afterwards.

  9. Someone invented the word "spatchcock" for the technique you've undertaken. I am a great believer in it and have cooked dozens of birds this way, chickens and Cornish hens as well. As for the "gruesome" part, get over it my chickadees.

  10. What a beauty! You can never be wrong with a roast chicken. Looks so inviting.
    I actually rather enjoy butterflying a chicken. It may be gruesome at first, but I got over it soon.

  11. It IS gruesome, but I'm so glad I learned how to do it ... cuts down cook time on a whole bird dramatically! And the possibilities for rubs, and accompaniments are endless!

  12. Great idea - I butterfly whole chickens to do on the BBQ but never thought to do it in the oven - will put this on my list of things to do imminently.

  13. Lovely, lovely. We've been having a lot of roast chicken lately - makes dinner one night, lunch the next, but I confess I've been chucking out the carcasses because the freezer is still full of ham stock. But your soup looks so delicious I am going to repent!

  14. No need for peas (although I really love peas). I love my freshly roasted chicken with just a bit of crusty bread!

  15. That poor chicken looks as if a yoga session went badly wrong!

  16. Totally agree about the benefits of butterflying chickens and I think there are more unpleasant preparation jobs - as you say, it doesn't take long. By the way, I don't think anyone would ever mistake you for a 1950s housewife.

  17. Glam chicken! Love it!

  18. Thank you for superb ingredient. Freezing lasted therefore attained fabulous: -)
    Excellent blog page utilizing treat excellent recipes ourselves if you're involved. I have a blog with cake recipes myself if you are interested. You can find it at

  19. That is indeed a VERY glam midweek meal and one that I would loved to have tucked into! You just cannot go wring with a chicken, it is the bird that keeps on giving! Lovely recipe Dom! Karen

  20. Oh that looks amazing and I love your thrift - chicken pilaf is perfect for leftover meat! You've inspired me to try butterflying a chicken :-)


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