Spatchcocked chicken with mustard brussels sprouts and whipped sweet potatoes
Roasting a whole chicken can require a lot of patience. You're tempted to turn up the heat to speed things along but will be punished for doing so by having to chew (and chew, and chew) on dried out breast meat.
Spatchcocking is the answer. By removing the backbone, you can flatten the bird out and partially submerge it in liquid, getting all the benefits of a braise (more even cooking and no drying out) while also preserving the crispy skin that a roast chicken deserves.
1 whole chicken
6 cloves garlic, still whole and pressed slightly under the flat side of a knife to crack the skins
6 shallots, halved lengthwise
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 tbsp thyme, dried or fresh
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chicken stock or water
Preheat the oven to 400.
Start with the bird. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, remove the backbone and put it aside to use later for stock. Once the backbone is removed you should have no trouble flipping the chicken over and pressing down between the breasts to flatten it out a little. Liberally apply salt and pepper inside and out.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the bubbles in the butter have subsided, carefully place the chicken in skin side down. When the skin is golden brown (about 5 minutes), flip the chicken over at briefly brown the other side. Remove the chicken to a plate. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until slightly browned (2-3 minutes). Add the thyme and lemon juice and zest and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Carefully place the chicken back into the pan skin side up and then add enough stock or water to fill the pan up about three quarters of an inch. The top of the bird should still be exposed.
Cooking time should be about 40 minutes. Keep a close eye on things and add more stock or water if the original allotment starts to evaporate too much.