Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vegetarian No More (or how to flat roast a chicken)

Silas tried his first bite of chicken a couple of weeks ago. And then he tried another bite and another bite... He loved it! As of about a month ago (really even before then) he became VERY bored with anything pureed. Not that he didn't care for the taste but rather the fact that mommy was feeding it to him with a spoon. Silas is still too young to master the skill of feeding himself with a utensil of any sort so I had to get creative with finger foods. Ripe pear, cantaloupe, bananas. Bits of toast. Cheerios. Carrots, peas (popped out from their hulls), green bean, sweet potatoes, zucchini. I started adding the tiniest bit of seasoned salt to some of veggies since he was starting to get bored with them as well. He gobbles them up now! You have to be careful to not add much sodium to your baby's food. It can make their organs work overtime to process it and we don't want that!

Back to meat. Dan has been working in a lot of chicken processing facilities recently so seeing a whole, roasted chicken is usually a less-then-appetizing sight for him. I recently bought a whole chicken from the store and decided to try a new recipe while he was out of town. Not only was it a new recipe but a whole new method of chicken roasting too! Brace yourselves. Here we go...

SPATCHCOCK! Weird name but a great method for roasting a chicken quickly. I felt pretty fancy cutting out the backbone with my super sharp kitchen shears and then popping the breastbone down with the palm of my hand to flatten the chicken. Here's the recipe that I used (in my own words because the book is in the kitchen and I'm not. And well, I'm comfy on the couch). This is an adaptation from the recipe for Flat Roast Chicken in the book Mad Hungry - Feeding Men and Boys by Lucinda Scala Quinn.

1 3-4 lb roasting chicken (also sometimes referred to as a fryer chicken)
2 Tablespoons of butter
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the backbone from the chicken. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels (you don't want all of the extra water in the pan). Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Heat a large cast iron skillet (mine is either 12" or 14") on medium high heat. Once hot, add the tablespoon of oil and ONE tablespoon of butter. Swirl to coat the pan. Add the chicken to the skillet skin side down. It will be crazy loud but resist the temptation to flip it! If you move it too soon you will tear the skin. Let the chicken be for about 3 minutes so the skin can get nicely crisp and brown. Remove from heat, flip the bird over in the pan (careful so you don't tear the skin too much!) and put the whole thing into the oven. Roast for about 45* minutes or until the bird is evenly browned and has an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove from oven and transfer bird to cutting board or platter to rest for 10 minutes. Swirl remaining tablespoon of butter and lemon juice into the pan juices to create a simple but tasty sauce for the chicken. Carve, spoon on the pan juices and serve. DELICIOUS! So simple and SO good.

*My bird took about an hour because it was slightly larger then 3-4 lbs.
Now if that isn't a look of satisfaction, I don't know what is!
"Here, Mom. Want some?"

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