Spatchcock chicken

Spatchcock chicken

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About this recipe: Spatchcock two whole chickens by removing their backbone and flattening them before roasting them with lemon and spices. You will get golden crisp skin and juicy meat, in about half the time it takes to roast a whole chicken. You can make a delicious gravy by adding a splash of white wine to the roasting tin at the end, encouraging all those delicious sticky bits to dissolve.


Makes: 2 roast chickens

  • 2 (1.5kg) whole chickens
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced and seeded

Prep:10min  ›  Cook:35min  ›  Extra time:5min resting  ›  Ready in:50min 

  1. Preheat oven to 230 C / Gas 8.
  2. Place chicken, breast side down, on a work surface. Starting at the tail end, cut along both sides of backbone with kitchen scissors. Remove backbone. Grabbing hold of both sides of the chicken, open it like a book. Turn breast side up. Push down on each side of breast with your hands until you hear it crack. Flatten chicken and transfer to one end of a large rimmed baking tray. Repeat with the second chicken.
  3. Combine salt, tarragon, paprika and pepper in a small bowl. Stir in oil. Run your fingers under chicken skin and rub tarragon paste under skin. Slide lemon slices under skin in a single layer.
  4. Roast until skin is crisp and chicken is no longer pink, about 35 minutes. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before slicing each chicken into 8 pieces.


Your local butcher can spatchcock your chicken for you if you prefer.

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