Butterflying a whole chicken is really easy, reduces the cooking time and is attractive for serving at the table.
Here’s my simple recipe that has a tasty mix of dukkah spices rubbed into the skin, thyme and lemons in the roasting pan.
Served here with a cauliflower and rocket salad that looks beautiful with its jewels of pomegranate seeds scattered over to contrast with the white and green.
1 whole free range chicken – organic if possible
60 grams of butter – at room temperature
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 bunch of fresh thyme
3 tablespoons of dukkah
Freshly ground black pepper
Turn oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Butterfly the chicken by cutting down both sides of the backbone with strong scissors or a heavy knife. (I roast the backbone too and use later for stock.)
Open out the chicken and lay out flat in the roasting dish.
Mix the softened butter with the crushed garlic and some thyme leaves. Ease the skin gently away from the chicken flesh and carefully spread the butter mixture under the skin.
Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with sea salt, pepper and the dukkah. Put sprigs of thyme over the chicken. Cut the lemons into wedges and scatter around in the dish and under the chicken.
Roast for 45 minutes or until golden and the juices run clear from the thickest part of the thigh.
Serve on an attractive platter or board with the lemon piece to squeeze over.
While the chicken is roasting, prepare the salad.
In terms of a wine match – roast chicken gives you a number of great choices. We quite like a Côtes-du Rhône with this or a Pinot Noir. If you prefer a white, perhaps a Viognier, white Burgundy or other oaked Chardonnay. Have a look too at Fiona Beckett’s excellent article – 8 great wine (and other) matches for roast chicken
CAULIFLOWER, ROCKET & POMEGRANATE SALAD
1 head of cauliflower – cut into florets
Rocket – approximately 1 handful per person
½ bunch of coriander and ½ bunch of mint, chopped – reserve some whole leaves to scatter on top to serve
1 pomegranate – seeds removed
1 lemon – juiced and rind grated or zested
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds OR ¼ of a cup of almonds or pistachios
Steam the cauliflower until just tender. Drain and cool.
Toast the sesame seeds or nuts in a dry pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, 2 tablespoon of lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Just before serving, toss the cauliflower, rocket, seeds/nuts, coriander and mint in a large bowl with the dressing. Transfer to a serving bowl. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds.
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