This recipe is a part of Carla Lalli Music’s Week of Dinners. You can find all the recipes here.
Removing the chicken’s backbone lets you open it like a book, flatten it, and cook it in half an hour at high heat. Ask whoever is at the meat counter to do this for you — you want it “spatchcocked” or “butterflied.” To do it yourself, use a pair of kitchen shears to cut along either side of the backbone (Google it!). Almost any vegetable will roast in the same amount of time as long as it’s cut into two-inch pieces.
– Carla Lalli Music, Author of Where Cooking Begins
30-Minute Spatchcock Chicken and Vegetables
- 2 teaspoons
- 1 teaspoon
crushed red pepper flakes
(3 1/2 to 4 1/2-pound) whole chicken, spatchcocked (see below)
Freshly ground pepper
- 8 to 10
medium beets, any color, greens trimmed
- 4 tablespoons
extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Set oven racks in upper third and lowest position of oven, place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet on lower rack, and preheat oven to 500°F. (A preheated skillet jump-starts the browning process and dramatically reduces cooking time.)
Lightly crush fennel and crushed red pepper in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Season chicken on both sides with salt and black pepper, then with fennel–crushed red pepper mixture. Scrub and peel beets and cut in to 2-inch wedges (quarters or sixths, depending on their size). Toss beets and 2 tablespoons oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.
Carefully remove hot skillet from oven and place on the stovetop over high heat. Pour in remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Carefully lay chicken in skillet, skin side down. Use a spatula to press firmly down on chicken to make sure skin is in firm contact with pan. Cook until edges of skin are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Lay a sheet of aluminum foil over chicken, then place a second cast-iron pan, Dutch oven, or other heavy pot on top as a weight. This will help chicken maintain contact with the pan while it roasts, shortening the cooking time and helping the skin brown.
Return pan to lower rack and cook for 30 minutes. Roast beets on upper rack until tender when pierced with a cake tester, 25 to 30 minutes. The chicken is ready when a thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast, avoiding bone, should register 150°F; temperature will continue to climb when chicken is resting. Turn chicken skin side up and let rest for 20 minutes. Serve with beets and any accumulated juices in skillet.
How to spatchcock: Spatchcock (aka butterfly) the chicken using poultry shears or a sharp chef’s knife: first remove the backbone, slicing or cutting it along each side all the way down to the tail end. Splay the chicken open with the skin side up on a flat surface. Place the heel of your hands, one on top of the other, over the middle of the chicken. Press down to flatten the chicken. You may hear the breast-bone crack.
Reprinted from Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes To Make You a Great Cook. Copyright © 2019 by Carla Lalli Music. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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