Sunday, February 23, 2014

roast chicken with garlic

Have you ever spatchcocked a whole chicken? It sounds wrong. But spatchcocking (which involves �flattening� out the chicken) is a great technique to speed up the cooking time when roasting a chicken and it exposes more skin for crisping potential.

I roast a chicken like this quite often. It's what I call 'laissez-faire' cooking because it requires minimal preparation and then you just throw it in the oven, leaving you free to do other things. I love the addition of roasted garlic. The flavour permeates the chicken while it�s cooking and then you�re left with the little cloves of soft and sweet roasted garlic (which you can just squeeze out of their skins to enjoy with the chicken).


  • 1 whole chicken * 
  • 1-2 heads of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Salad leaves (or other vegetables) to serve


1. Preheat your oven to 180C.

2. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the chicken breast-side down on a chopping board with the legs facing you. Cut down both sides of the spine and discard the spine (or keep it for making stock). I do this using a pair of sharp kitchen scissors. Turn the chicken over and press down on the breastbone to flatten.

3. Separate the cloves of garlic, but leave them in their skins. Place the cloves in a roasting tray (large enough to fit the flattened chicken), drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

4. Place the flattened chicken, breast-side up, on top of the garlic. Drizzle a little olive oil over the chicken, rub it into the skin and season with salt and pepper.

5. Roast in the preheated oven for about 1 hour - 1 hour 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crispy. The cooking time will vary depending on the weight of your chicken. A 1.8kg chicken takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes in my oven. Towards the end of the cooking time, push the cloves of garlic out from under the chicken to the sides of the tray (you�ll need to carefully lift up one side of the chicken with tongs or a spatula to do this � take it out of the oven if you need to, just make sure you don�t burn yourself!).

6. Serve the chicken with the garlic cloves and some salad leaves, which I dress with the garlicky chicken juices from the tray.

* I have an embarrassing confession - the first time I bought a whole chicken and held it in my hands to start preparing it, I randomly started crying . It had hit me that it was a real animal before it ended up in my kitchen (of course my boyfriend got home right at that moment to find me standing at the sink, crying while holding the chicken. It was a bit awkward to explain). It's easy to forget where your meat has come from when you're just dealing with the separate parts. I eat meat because personally, my body requires it to function well. I buy meat that I feel confident has been raised and killed as humanely as possible. Free-range and grass-fed (without any added hormones or antibiotics) is best. 

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