Friday, May 30, 2014

Spatchcocked chicken? You watch your language!

One of my favorite t.v. chefs used to be Aida Mollenkamp. I don't know if she's even on t.v. anymore, but I still follow her online. Recently, she posted an amazing recipe for a spatchcocked roasted chicken with lime, chile, and cilantro. As you know, I'm all about spatchcocking (or so you may have heard--tee hee), but I never thought that only five ingredients would yield something so incredibly flavorful. It should be noted that I used pickled jalapenos instead of serranos (as it's what I had on hand), and added a teaspoon each of ground cumin and dark chili powder to the marinade. So that takes it to seven ingredients, but c'est la vie! 

I served this wonderfully tender, juicy, and zesty chicken with a simple salad of (steamed, peeled and chunked and cooled) potatoes, corn (steamed and cut from the cob), pickled green beans, a can of dark red kidney beans (drained), and a few small chopped tomatoes all tossed with a little bottled vinaigrette. This meal is definitely going into my regular repertoire!

Note: If the chicken comes out of the oven not quite dark and crispy enough to suit you, flip on the broiler for a few minutes right at the end of cooking time.

Roasted Cilantro Chile Lime Spatchcocked Chicken
(Source: adapted from Aida Mollenkamp)

1 (4 to 5 pound) chicken
1 or 2 medium serrano chiles seeded and minced
5 medium garlic cloves grated or minced
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest, divided
scant teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon dark chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Heat oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Remove necks and any innards from the cavities and discard. To spatchcock, use a sharp pair of sharp poultry shears or kitchen scissors to cut along the backbone; remove and discard. Score along the breastbone then flip chicken, placing it breast-side up, and pressing down to flatten until it is lying completely flat.

Combine half of the lime zest with remaining ingredients in a small bowl and mix until evenly combined. Season and adjust flavor as desired. Massage the mixture into both sides of the bird.  Set aside while oven heats up, at least 20 minutes.

Drizzle a little of the marinade into a large cast iron pan, roasting pan, or baking dish and rotate to coat the bottom. Lay chicken breast-side down, scrape/pour the remainder of the marinade over the chicken, then roast until breast is golden brown and opaque, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, carefully flip, then continue to roast, basting every few minutes, until thigh juices run clear and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165°F, about 15 to 20 minutes more (about 45 to 50 minutes total). 

Set chicken aside and rest 5 to 10 minutes before carving. Serve garnished with remaining lime zest, cilantro, and with pan juices spooned over the top.

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