Lemon Herb Spatchcock Chicken

Although this looks like your average roast chicken, I assure you it is not. I’ve done two things differently: firstly, I spatchcocked the chicken and secondly I put the marinade under the skin. Spatchcocking a bird has the effect of making it much flatter (literally) which means that it can be cooked more quickly. Being able to cook the bird more quickly means you don’t have to be super organized and get dinner in the oven nice and early and (since the bird is in the oven for less time) you’ll be lest likely to overcook it and end up with a dry dinner. The advantage to putting the marinade under the skin is also twofold. As the skin has already been pulled away, it’s really easy to break away and serve the crispy skin (and easy to snag a piece before the bird reaches the dinner table) and also easier for those who don’t like it to peel it away. It also, I think, makes the meat much more flavourful since the marinade doesn’t have to penetrate the skin to get to the meat. So for me, this is the way to cook a chicken: it takes less time, it’s more flavourful, and I am less likely to mess it up. All good things!I hope you all have as much success as I’ve had spatchcocking!

  • 2/3 clove garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped herbs (I like rosemary and oregano. If you’re using dried herbs, make it a heaping tablespoon)
  • 1 chicken
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Spatchcock your chicken using a sturdy pair of sissors. For a good how-to, check out this video.
  2. Finely dice the garlic and (if using fresh) the herbs.
  3. Zest the lemon.
  4. Mix the lemon zest, herbs, and garlic into the olive oil and add lots of salt and pepper.
  5. Now it’s time to peel back the chicken’s skin working your way from the outer edge of the bird towards the centre. Do this by sliding your hand between the meat and the skin to pull apart any connective tissue. Keep the skin attached along the breast bone (directly opposite the spine), this is where you’re pull the skin back over the marinade from. You will hit a few points around the wings and the thighs where you will have to cut the skin away from the bone, but try to use a knife as little as possible. Don’t worry, it’s much easier than it sounds.
  6. Now that the chicken’s skin is pulled back, place the bird on a plate or in a big container.
  7. With the skin still pulled back, start smearing the marinade all over the meat making sure to get into all the little crevices.
  8. After it’s all coated in herby, lemon goodness, pull the skin back over the chicken tucking the excess underneath.
  9. Cover the chicken and leave in the fridge overnight. I know it’s hard to wait after you’ve just prepared and entire chicken, but if you don’t let the flavours infuse, there’s not much point doing an marinade. Plus, the end result makes all that waiting worth it.
  10. About half an hour before you want to cook your chicken, take it out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
  11. Once your oven is nice and hot and the chicken isn’t quite as cool, transfer the chicken to a roasting dish keeping the skin pulled over the meat.
  12. Bake for 35-40 mins (for a 1.5kg/3lb bird) or until, when pricked, the juice run clear. I always do the prick test with chicken, it keeps my mind at ease.
  13. Turn the oven onto broil and cook for another 5 mins until the skin is nice an crispy. I suggest keeping an eye it for these 5 mins as chicken skin can quickly go from beautifully crispy to completely burnt.
  14. Cover the chicken with foil and allow to rest for 10mins.
  15. Carve up nice big juicy slices and enjoy :)
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