The Bird is the Word

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It all started this past November a few days before Thanksgiving. First of all, if you don’t already know this, you should; Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love, love, love it. I love all of the cooking/baking/love that goes into it. This year I was able to host my very first Thanksgiving, and even though I’m pretty sure I drove my husband crazy, I loved it. But I was spending so much time focusing on which side dishes to prepare (See: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese, Roasted Mushrooms, and Buttermilk Biscuits ) that I really kind of forgot the turkey. I know, I know, that’s crazy talk.

So a few day before Thanksgiving, I started looking at different recipes for roasting a turkey. That’s when I came across various claims that spatchcocking a turkey is the fastest and greatest way to roast a turkey. So let’s back up, today’s word of the day is spatchcock. This is a cooking technique for poultry where the back bone is removed, the bird is pressed flat, and then cooked. Basically it’s a fancy word for butterflying a whole bird.

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Let me just say, this blew my mind. I had never heard of it before and I was kind of fascinated by a technique that claimed to cut cooking down significantly and produce a juicy turkey with a crispy outside. But this was days before Thanksgiving, and I was not brave/crazy enough to experiment with this technique for the very first time on Thanksgiving.

Now let’s fast forward to a few weeks ago. My time had come, and I was ready to try this whole spatchcocking thing for myself. I bought a 4 lb chicken, brined it, and gave it a try. OH MY GOODNESS. It was magnificent! It was delicious! It was more than I dreamed it would be. Thankfully my husband called to say he would be working late that night because I almost ate the whole chicken myself. I have no regrets.

So without further ado, I give you my recipe for a fool-proof roasted chicken. Be brave! This yields awesome results and I will most certainly be doing this the next time I host Thanksgiving.

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Spatchcock Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • brine for the chicken
  • 4 lb roasting chicken
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • cooking spray
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp bacon fat (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper

Step 1: Brine the bird

You can use any brine you like. I halved this recipe from Pioneer Woman. I like this one in particular because it gives the bird sweet and savory flavors. I swear by brining whole birds before roasting, you’ll never have a dry roasted bird again! I recommend brining for at least 16 hours, or up to 24 hours before roasting.

Step 2: Spatchcock

Take the chicken out of the brine and allow it to drain for a few minutes.

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Place the chicken on a cutting board and pat dry with a paper towel.

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Using kitchen scissors, cut vertically along the backbone of the chicken on both sides and remove entirely.

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Flip the chicken over and press the bird as flat as you can.

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Step 3: Roast the chicken

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a cooling rack in a flat baking pan and put in the oven while it is preheating. Slice the lemons and oranges into thin round slices and set aside. Melt the butter (and bacon fat if using) in the microwave and set aside.

Once the oven is up to temperature, remove the hot pans from the oven. Carefully, spray the cooling rack with non stick cooking spray and arrange the lemon and orange slices on the the rack.

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Place the chicken on top of the citrus. Brush the skin with the melted butter (and bacon fat) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Roast for 50-60 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting up and eating.

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Just look at that beauty.

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How you doin?

Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of Freinds reruns lately. I regret nothing.

The wings and thighs are my favorite, and I love using the juicy meat from the breasts in sandwiches and soups. After carving the chicken, save those bones! Later this week I will share with you my absolute favorite recipe for brown chicken stock.

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Enjoy and let me know how your chicken turns out.

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Spatchcock Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • brine for the chicken
  • 4 lb roasting chicken
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • cooking spray
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp bacon fat (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

Step 1: Brine the bird. You can use any brine you like. I recommend brining for at least 16 hours, or up to 24 hours before roasting.

Step 2: Spatchcock

Take the chicken out of the brine and allow it to drain for a few minutes. Place the chicken on a cutting board and pat dry with a paper towel. Using kitchen scissors, cut vertically along the backbone of the chicken on both sides and remove entirely. Flip the chicken over and press the bird as flat as you can.

Step 3: Roast the chicken

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a cooling rack in a flat baking pan and put in the oven while it is preheating. Slice the lemons and oranges into thin round slices and set aside. Melt the butter (and bacon fat if using) in the microwave and set aside. Once the oven is up to temperature, remove the hot pans from the oven. Carefully, spray the cooling rack with non-stick cooking spray and arrange the lemon and orange slices on the the rack.

Place the chicken on top of the citrus. Brush the skin with the melted butter (and bacon fat) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast for 50-60 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting up and eating.

Lemon Oregano Roasted Chicken Thighs

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Honestly, this dish is a staple in my house. I started making this a few years ago, when I was desperate for one-pot meals, and this one just stuck. I make this (or a variation of this) every two weeks or so. This can be attributed to a few reasons; the first being that it is quick and easy to make. I also love this recipe because it’s a building block for tons of other dinners. I often change the spice combinations and vegetables I’m roasting with the chicken so it doesn’t get boring.

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The last, and maybe most important reason we make this for dinner so often is because it’s with chicken thighs. Let me tell you, I used to think I didn’t like chicken. It turns out I was just drying out my chicken every time and that was really making my chicken dishes unenjoyable. Once I started cooking chicken thighs with this method I learned how absolutely amazing chicken can really be, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. It was literally a revelation to me that I had been ignoring, in my opinion, the best part of the chicken!

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And chicken thighs are so inexpensive. I buy big packs of them at the grocery store and freeze 4-5 thighs in a bag, so that when I’m making it for dinner I put the bag of frozen chicken in a sink of hot water and they defrost quickly. After they are defrosted I trim the skin so there is just a small amount on the top of the thigh, and trim the excess fat on the bottom of the thigh.

So, as you try this recipe in your own kitchen, I strongly encourage you to experiment with different spice combinations for the chicken and which vegetables get roasted with the chicken. If you like crispy chicken that is juicy and flavorful on the inside then this recipe is for you.

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Lemon Oregano Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 chicken thighs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c carrots, baby carrots, or cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • oregano

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Pat dry the chicken thighs with a paper towel and place on a plate. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in an oven safe pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shiny and easily coats the bottom of the pan place the chicken thighs, skin side down, on the the pan. Allow them to brown for 6 minutes. Carefully flip the chicken and brown the bottom of the chicken thighs for 6 minutes.

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Toss the carrots in a small amount of olive oil and add them to the pan around the chicken thighs. Squeeze the lemon slices over the entire pan (be careful, this will splatter a bit), place the lemon slices in the pan on top of the vegetables.

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Sprinkle oregano on the chicken thighs and then place the pan (uncovered) in the oven and roast for 18-20 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken thighs).

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The chicken is finished when it reaches an internal temperature of 165.

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Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

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Lemon Oregano Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 chicken thighs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c carrots, baby carrots, or cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • oregano

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Pat dry the chicken thighs with a paper towel and place on a plate. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in an oven safe pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shiny and easily coats the bottom of the pan place the chicken thighs, skin side down, on the the pan. Allow them to brown for 6 minutes. Carefully flip the chicken and brown the bottom of the chicken thighs for 6 minutes.

Toss the carrots in a small amount of olive oil and add them to the pan around the chicken thighs. Squeeze the lemon slices over the entire pan (be careful, this will splatter a bit), place the lemon slices in the pan on top of the vegetables.

Sprinkle oregano on the chicken thighs and then place the pan (uncovered) in the oven and roast for 18-20 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken thighs).

The chicken is finished when it reaches an internal temperature of 165.

Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.