Roast Butterflied Chicken w/ Potatoes

We accidentally double-ordered whole chickens this week, and we planned to try out two new recipes. Instead, we cooked this twice this week it was so yummy, with minor variations the second time for fun. With the two of us, there is enough for dinner and some leftovers (some I had for lunch, some we cooked into a quick chicken fettucine later in the week)

  • 1 whole chicken (3-4 lbs ideal, but anything over 2.5 lbs will be fine)
  • 2-3 yukon gold potatoes (or 1-2 baking potatoes of your choice--you will want lots of these, so don't skimp!) 
  • 1.5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Any dry herbs of your choice. We used classic Italian spices, since we prefer it - oregano, basil, garlic salt, onion powder, and rosemary. A tsp of each is probably enough, or whatever you eyeball to get decent coverage on your chicken

 Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees, and put rack one below your oven's center.

Line the broiler rack tray with foil. If you like, also foil the rack, for easier clean up, but punch holes in key places near the center to make sure the fat from the chicken is able to drip down into tray below.

Cut potatoes into 1.5'-2" pieces, whatever you like for roast potatoes. Toss in 1.5 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Put into roasting pan, sprinkle with some rosemary if you like.

Butterfly your chicken - if you have never done this before, don't be afraid! It's super easy! See a video here to see how easy it is. Don't be afraid to be rough with your chicken to get it set up how you like, it can take it. I hadn't done this before this week, and now I already feel like an old hand at it.

Slide your fingers under the skin of the breast and thighs, making room for flavorful goodness to get under there. Try not to perforate the skin or break through the other side, so you create a little "pocket" instead of a sheath open at both ends, if that makes sense.

Combine your herbs in a bowl. If you like, you can grind together with a mortar and pestle to get if nice and fine and well-blended.

Melt your butter in the microwave, then throw in the herbs and stir up.

Spoon the butter and herb mixture under the skin of the bird. This is kinda messy, but worth it. Use the spoon to spread it around (or if you were a mud-pie kinda kid, use your fingers!).

Put rack on top of roasting pan with potatoes in it, and place the chicken on the rack. Arrange legs to partly cover the breasts, and make sure the skin is covering the meat (exposed skinless meat can dry out).

Cook at 500 degrees for 20 minutes, then rotate pan 180 and cook another 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, set chicken aside to rest 5 minutes. Pat your potatoes with paper towels to remove excess oils. They will have been soaking up the drippings from the chicken down there, which is great for flavor, but without some paper towel action they can be greasy, so don't skip this step if you want good crunchy potatoes. Some may stick to the foil; just scrape them up as much as you can.

For the two of us, I cut the chicken in half with a sharp kitchen knife. I put a pile of roast potatoes on the plate, and arranged the half chicken leaning against the potato-mountain. Then a veggie on the side if you planned for that. Note: heating some corn or peas on the stove during the last 10 minutes is easy enough, and you make your Mom proud eating your veggies. If you like, putting some carrots in with your potatoes in the roasting pan is another veggie option.

Enjoy!

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