Thursday, 2 August 2012

A roasted flattened chook

Several years ago, I was introduced to the concept of a flattened chook by the recipe books of Donna Hay.  Donna also provided the entirely sensible suggestion of putting some baking paper under the flattened chook before cooking, which makes the cleaning up part of the day MUCH quicker.  So here’s my version of a flattened chook – which finds its way into the oven almost every week.  The advantages over a traditional roast chicken are that it cooks faster, the breast doesn’t dry out, and it just tastes great!

Roast Flattened Chook
Serves 4-6 – in our house, that means it serves 4 for dinner, with enough leftover to provide the basis for another dinner for 2 of us.

1 chicken
1-2 lemons
About ½ a head of garlic
Handful each of fresh thyme and oregano
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 180-200 C.
First of all, line a flat roasting dish with baking paper.  Chop one lemon into quarters, separate the cloves of garlic (don’t worry about peeling), and pile them all into a rough bed for the chicken to lie on.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil.
Place your chicken breast side down on your bench, with the backbone closest to you.  Using sturdy kitchen scissors, chop through the bones along one side of the backbone. 
Pull the cut sides apart and flatten the chicken out – it won’t be perfectly flat.  Turn over, place on top of the prepared bed of herbs etc, and gently flatten with your hands.
Wash your hands and then sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper, some thyme leaves, and cover with slices of lemon.  Roast potatoes can also be added – as long as they are small enough to cook in 40-50 minutes.
If you’re feeding a slightly larger than usual army, then the quantities can be doubled and stacked in the oven.
Bake for 40-50 minutes – I usually rotate the dish halfway through.  Once the chicken is cooked, leave to rest for 5-10 minutes before carving.

The juices are delicious - scoop the potatoes into a serving dish and then drain the juices.  They can be poured straight over the chicken once carved, or kept for stock. 

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