I daresay there are few things more succulent and finger licking good than a well cooked bird. For the sake of this recipe the aforementioned bird being a delightful spring chicken and the cooking a broil that rivals roasting’s tenderness.
If you are a good foodie, and I’m sure you are, you will remember the episode of Top Chef in which a contestant was to create a recipe indicative of pride. What did that sweet little Latina deem most prideful? A perfectly roasted chicken, this quarter-rican couldn’t agree more.
While there are certainly a number of decadent roast chicken recipes out there that boast both ease and simplicity, this recipe is standard issue and has won over many a friend at the dinner table in our house (both those with and without tails). It is safe to say that if you have chicken, butter, and a few dried or fresh herbs you too will be able to win the love of any friend you should seek.
In this particular instance of kitchen foolery I decided I would make a first attempt at butchering the chicken a la’ Ina Garten’s recommendations for flat chicken. It all sounded so simple, I had seen her take the backbone from bird on many a re-run and even you-tubed the clip pre-butchering. Innocent as it looked the process made me feel all together unworthy. I did in fact succeed in procuring said spine however the job was not even close to being neatly executed (luckily the kind fowl still tasted delightful).
This work was all done in an effort to cut cooking time, this soldier reports no such luck. However it did ensure that even single inch of crackling good chicken skin was crispy. Definitely deems butchering worth the extra effort in my opinion. Cooking time can be tricky without a thermometer, if you find yourself without one and worried do as I did: make a little cut into the bird and have a looksie. Pink meat = back in the oven; white juicy meat = rest on the counter for a few minutes while you set the table (aka devour as the scorching meat sears the fleshy insides of your cheeks). Give it a whirl and once you get the hang of it invite someone special over for a meal that will have them and Fido drooling*.
*Be advised the smell that wafts from oven is enough to make even the most behaved creature crazed with chicken-lust….ie once it’s out of the oven keep your eyes on the bird.
Broiled Flat Chicken
One Chicken (back bone removed)
Pre-heat oven to Low Broil (if you have the option). De-bone chicken
by any means possible by holding the bird in the standing position* cut down either side of the spine with a good butchers knife (better yet if you know your butcher have him do it but save the spine for stock if you’re that kind of cook). Smother chicken inside and outside of skin with herb butter. Usually it works best to stuff dabs up under the skin first in four large dabs (one lump in each breast and thigh). Place these dabs furthest from the opening of the skin, as you smooth the rest of the butter over the outside of the skin they will melt down a bit and as it cooks the butter will naturally baste the meat. Lay the chicken skin side up on a roasting pan**. Cook for anywhere between 30 minutes to about an hour about half way through cooking switch to high broil if you have the option. No matter how long the chicken has been in the oven once the thermometer reads somewhere between 160-175 you should be safe to pull it out of the oven to rest under foil for five or so minutes. Cut into halves or quarters and enjoy.
* Tail on the board open neck hole upward.
**There are positives and negative to both a pan with rack and one without when cooking a “flat chicken”. With rack you can baste easily if you would like and can easily collect drippings for a tasty pan gravy however without rack the underside of the meat is cooking in the juices and fats that run off…in the end it’s either work with what you’ve got or what you like. I prefer the rack seeing as I am the kind who sits with the pups admiring the bird through the oven door and basting only makes the anticipation more exciting
½ stick of butter softened to room temp (aprox)
1T salt (or herb mix containing salt)
2T fresh or dried herbs (rosemary, tarragon, parsley, oregano, paprika or any blend work well but skip on fresh basil it gets too bitter)
1-2 clove(s) garlic minced or grated
Using a fork mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Use immediately or roll into a log using Saran wrap. Keeps in the fridge for about a week.