I am so excited to bring you another post in our All the Healthy Things “Just the Basics” series. These posts are focused on helping you master basics in the kitchen and, hopefully, inspiring you with a few new ideas along the way.
If you are new to cooking, or just need a refresher on the basics, these posts are designed to help you feel more confident in the kitchen. Once you have a handle on a few basic concepts and techniques, you can easily build upon them to create new and exciting recipes dishes without a second thought.
If you have ever wondered how some people just seem to know how to cook without a recipe or can quickly throw together a meal in a moment’s notice, it’s likely because they have a good grasp of the basics. I want that for you! It’s my hope that every just the basics post helps you feel more comfortable so that you can enjoy your time spent in the kitchen even more!
If you haven’t already be sure to check out the other how-to guides in the series.
A spatchcocked, or butterflied, chicken is a chicken that has had the backbone completely removed. Removing the backbone allows the chicken to be completely opened, pressed down, and flattened to an even level. Removing the backbone of the chicken makes it possible for the chicken to be cooked in several different ways including grilling and roasting.
Watch How to Make This Recipe
Why Spatchcock Over Regular Roasting?
You may be asking why would you even take the time to spatchcock a chicken. Here are a few reasons:
Cooks evenly! Spatchcocked chicken cooks much more evenly than a regular roasting because the chicken is on an even surface level. This allows the breast and the thigh meat to be done at the same time.
Cooks faster! Because of the even surface level the chicken cooks much faster.
Cooks crispy! Because the backbone is cut out of the chicken it allows for more of the surface to be exposed which means you can cover every inch of the bird with butter and seasoning. You’ll get more crispy skin and more flavor, and who does not want that?!
The best way to spatchcock a chicken is to use a very sharp pair of kitchen shears. Then, turn the chicken breast side down and then use the shears to cut alongside the right side of the backbone.
Next, cut alongside the other sider of the backbone and then remove it. Finally, flip the chicken over and press down on the middle of the chicken to break the backbone and flatten the bird.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Whole Chicken: you’ll need a 3-4 pound whole chicken for this recipe.
Unsalted Butter: to add flavor to both the chicken and veggies, you’ll make a butter “sauce” to brush on the chicken and coat the veggies.
Olive Oil: because butter can sometimes burn at high temperatures, I like to include a bit of olive oil in the better sauce which has a bit of a higher smoke point than butter.
Veggies: we’re using a combination of butternut squash, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, and red onion. The veggies will roast alongside the kitchen and become tender.
Garlic: fresh is best when it comes to garlic. Grab a few fresh cloves and mince those up to use for both the chicken and veggies.
Thyme: fresh thyme and chicken go perfectly together.
Lemon: this helps to add a brightness to the chicken that is so delicious as well as amplify all of the other flavors.
Ingredient Substitutions and Variations
Butter – swap the butter for ghee if you prefer.
Olive Oil – if you like, you can swap the olive oil for avocado oil.
Thyme – you can easily use whatever fresh herbs you like! swap the thyme for fresh rosemary if you prefer or just use a few sprigs of each.
Veggies – any combination of root veggies will work here! try using carrots, sweet potatoes, or white potatoes.
How to Make this Roasted Spatchcock Chicken Recipe
Step One: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
Step Two: To a small bowl add the butter, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, thyme, and lemon juice. Stir together until well combined.
Step Three: Add the diced butternut squash, diced parsnips, red onion, and Brussels sprouts to a large mixing bowl.
Step Four: Pour approximately 1/3 of the butter mixture over the root vegetables. Toss the veggies until well coated and then set aside.
Step Five: Rub the remaining butter mixture all over the chicken being sure to get it under the skin and in all the nooks and crannies of the chicken.
Step Six: Place the chicken on the prepared sheet pan and sprinkle with a bit of additional salt and pepper.
Step Seven: Scatter the root vegetables around the chicken on the sheet pan in an even layer.
Step Eight: Place the chicken and veggies into the oven and roast 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees at the thickest part of the breast. Baste the chicken halfway through cooking with the pan drippings and gently toss the root veggies. If the chicken starts to brown a bit too much, you can cover it with a piece of foil to prevent it from burning.
Step Nine: Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving along with the veggies.
Should You Roast a Chicken Covered or Uncovered?
For that golden brown crispy skin, you’ll need to roast the chicken uncovered. If you roast a much larger chicken, that needs more oven time, you may find that the skin on the chicken starts to become too brown. If that happens, you can lightly tent a piece of foil overtop of the chicken to prevent it from burning.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Chicken
To ensure the chicken cooks evenly, I like to take it out of the fridge around 15-20 minutes before I begin to prep it.
For ultimate crispy skin, every time, be sure to thoroughly pat both the outside and inside of the chicken dry with a paper towel.
Chicken needs salt to really be flavorful so don’t skimp on it! There’s no need to be heavy handed but feel free to liberally season both the inside and the outside of the bird.
Let chicken rest before carving! This step makes all the difference between perfectly juicy chicken and dry sad chicken. Letting the chicken rest before carving allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat for the most tender and flavorful chicken every time.
Can I Prep This Recipe in Advance?
Yes! You can easily spatchcock and prep the chicken and veggies in advance, cover, and place the entire sheet pan in the fridge. Take the chicken out of the fridge 15-20 minutes before you are ready to cook so that it can reach room temperature and cook more evenly.
How to Store?
You can store your roasted chicken in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to three to four days.
What to Serve With Your Chicken
Roasted chicken can be paired with so many different things! If you need a few extra sides to serve alongside the veggies, here are a few of my favorites:
I hope you give this Spatchcocked Roasted Chicken a try! It’s an easy and delicious dinner!
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1 – 3-4 pound chicken, spatchcocked and patted dry
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups diced butternut squash
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
1 red onion, cut into large chunks
6 ounces Brussels sprouts, halved
garnish: rosemary ; fresh thyme, lemon slices
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
To a small bowl add the butter, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, thyme, and lemon juice. Stir together until well combined.
Add the diced butternut squash, diced parsnips, red onion, and Brussels sprouts to a large mixing bowl.
Pour approximately 1/3 of the butter mixture over the root vegetables. Toss the veggies until well coated and then set aside.
Rub the remaining butter mixture all over the chicken being sure to get it under the skin and in all the nooks and crannies of the chicken.
Place the chicken on the prepared sheet pan and sprinkle with a bit of additional salt and pepper.
Scatter the root vegetables around the chicken on the sheet pan in an even layer.
Place the chicken and veggies into the oven and roast 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees at the thickest part of the breast. Baste the chicken halfway through cooking with the pan drippings and gently toss the root veggies. If the chicken starts to brown a bit too much, you can cover it with a piece of foil to prevent it from burning.
Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving along with the veggies.
Keywords: spatchcock chicken, how to spatchcock chicken, spatchcock chicken recipe, roasted spatchcock chicken
Recipe by: Ashlea Carver / All the Healthy Things | Photography by:THE MINDFUL HAPA