Sizzling Summer Spatchcock Chicken

It’s been a mad week here! We have a gîte with a full quota of guests, my son and his girlfriend staying in the house, 4 friends staying last night in a tent and my nephew arriving today. So my first thought of the day is wondering how many I am cooking for that evening. Luckily tonight it’s only seven but I need a little break so this is a dish that is really easy and keeps the chicken really moist.

Here’s what you need for 4 people:

  • 2 small chickens
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 sprigs rosemary (about 1 tbsp when chopped) or 2tsp dried
  • 2 sprigs of tarragon or 2tsp dried
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed

Here’s what to do:

  • First prepare the marinade my mixing the lemon juice, zest, oil and  chopped herbs.
  • Sizzling Summer Spatchcock (4) Next prepare the chicken – it’s really easy. You can use poultry shears but I find it easier with a sharp knife. Put the chicken neck end down on a chopping board and holding the backbone, start cutting through the ribs. Repeat down the other side and remove the backbone. Either chuck it or freeze for making stock later. Flatten the chicken by pushing down hard on the breast area.

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  • Carefully separate the skin from the breast and squidge the garlic in. You could mix it with butter to make it very naughty.
  • Spread the herb marinade all over the skin of the chicken and pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours if you can.
  • Cook in the oven at 180 C or Gas 5/6 for about an hour and thirty minutes, depending on the size of your  chicken. You can also barbecue this slowly.
  • You can use this marinade on a normal roast chicken and this way you can stuff the squeezed lemon halves inside the cavity for extra flavour. It’s also great on a rotisserie.

DSC_0939Sizzling Summer Spatchcock (6)

So here’s a really delicious marinade that you could use on any chicken. Putting the garlic under the skin stops it from burning and allows it to get right into the flesh. If you are going for a virtuous option then omit the oil and mix the garlic and herbs together and then slather onto skinless breast or thigh and cook in foil. Open the foil for the last 5 minutes.

Sizzling Summer Spatchcock (2)

Chicken with Tarragon and Juniper Berries

My favourite herb is tarragon. It goes in egg dishes, salmon and of course, chicken. I use it dried for the intensity of the flavour and sometimes fresh, as in this dish. I’m growing it in pots now, but if you want to do the same be sure to buy French Tarragon, not Russian. The Russian one is more widely available but the taste is very mild. The pot needs to be brought in during the winter months as it is quite tender.

I’ve been cooking this dish for years, originally as a dinner party dish as it always looks pretty with carrots and mangetout. It might be a little retro now but it is still impressive and tastes luxurious. Best of all, it takes very little effort.

Here’s what you need for 4 people:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 8 juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 1 glass dry white wine ( I used Muscadet but a Pinot Grigio would work)
  • 1 glass chicken stock ( I used half a cube)
  • 2 heaped tbsp of low fat creme fraiche.
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon (or 1 heaped tsp dried)

Here’s what I did:

Tarragon Chicken (2)

  • Cut each chicken breast into 3 equal strips.
  • In a casserole dish heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and add the chicken and brown for a few minutes.
  • Add the stock, wine and juniper berries, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for 5-10 minutes until just tender.
  • Season and add the tarragon and creme fraiche for a minute.
  • Serve with boiled new potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

Tarragon Chicken

So here is a quick and tasty dish you can do midweek or dress it up for posh nosh too.  In winter serve it with small roast potatoes and roasted root vegetables. No need for gravy with all the yummy sauce. The best thing is that it is lower in fat than using double cream but  will not curdle when you add it to the wine. Give it a go and see how easy it is….I’d love to know how you get on.