There is something glorious about roast chicken. That delicious crisp skin, the moist meat whether breast or thigh and that wonderful teasing, tempting aroma for the hour and twenty minutes it’s cooking. You’d never roast a chicken for just two people and you’d think twice, even if there were more of you, about roast chicken mid week purely because of time. Spatchcocking – splitting and then flattening the bird, considerable speeds up that time but better still, if there are just two of you or four impatient people, spatchcock a couple of Poussin.
Poussin are young chickens about half the size of a regular bird. Most supermarkets sell them these days and one bird with vegetables or salad is perfect for two people mid week and once spatchcoked cooks in 30-40 minutes. Follow these directions and you can spatchcock any poultry.
For the purposes of this I used Poussin, but the principles are the same for any poultry or game bird.
Step 1. Place the Poussin on a cutting board and then turn over, breast side down. Take a pair of kitchen scissors and cut along the side of the backbone from the parson’s nose towards the neck.
Step 2. Then cut along the other side of the back one, leaving you with a strip of boney chicken with the parson’s nose attached. If you’re making stock or gravy you could include this piece. Otherwise dispose of it.
Step 3. Turn the Poussin over so the breast is up and using ball of your palm press down on the breast bone until you hear a snap. It will then be possible to spread the chicken flat ready to be roasted or rubbed and marinated.
You now have a bird with more skin exposed to go crispy and delicious and it cooks faster. Roast on a bed of vegetables as a one pot dish, or on shaved fennel for a hint of aniseed, or as with this one with slivers of finely cut lemon and garlic under the skin and set on a bed of thyme.
Lemon, Garlic And Thyme Roasted Spatchcock Poussin
Serves 2 (Double up to serve 4)
- 1 Poussin (Spatchcocked)
- 1 Lemon (thinly sliced)
- 2 cloves Garlic (sliced in half lengthways)
- 5 sprigs Thyme
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- Salt (generous sprinkle)
- Preheat the oven to 200c, 180c fan, gas mark 4, 350f. Gently insert your finger under the right side skin of the poussin and ease it along the breast creating a gap. Insert one of the slices of lemon in to the gap you've made under the skin and top with one of the pieces of garlic. Then ease your finger under the skin of the thigh and insert the lemon and garlic. Repeat on the left hand side.
- Place on a roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil, rub this into the bird. Liberally sprinkle with salt (this helps to crisp up the skin). Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and the juices run clear.
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