Tag Archives: butterflied chicken

Za’atar-Rubbed Butterflied Chicken with Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

For an easy, but impressive weeknight dinner, turn a simple roast chicken into a fabulous poultry dinner by rubbing it with za’atar. Using olive oil to form a paste, spread za’atar and salt underneath the chicken skin and let it rest in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours, which has the same effect as brining a chicken.

To cook it, use the Italian technique of cooking under a brick (or a pot in this case). Once the skin is crisp, brush on additional za’atar and olive oil paste. Then finishing the chicken breast side up in a hot oven turns the paste into a crisp crust. While the chicken cooks, create a zesty vinaigrette that brightens up the finished dish.

But exactly what is za’atar? It is so multifaceted and dynamic due to a blend of many different flavors, textures, and fragrances. Even though it varies greatly (specific recipes can be closely-guarded secrets), za’atar is generally a combination of dried oregano, thyme, and/or marjoram (woodsy and floral), with sumac (tangy and acidic) and toasted sesame seeds (nutty and rich).

If za’atar is not available at the grocery/specialty store, make it at home, like us (see below). Play around with different quantities of crushed dried oregano, dried thyme, and dried marjoram, and add sumac, toasted sesame seeds, and, if you want, salt.

One of our paired side dishes was locally grown organic tomatoes, spread with fresh pesto, topped with slices of mozzarella, and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette.

TIP: We keep a jar of preserved lemons in our auxiliary refrigerator at most times. If you don’t have or can’t find preserved lemons, you can microwave four 2-inch strips lemon zest, minced, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon water, ¼ teaspoon sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt at 50 percent power until the liquid evaporates, about 1½ minutes, stirring and mashing the lemon with the back of a spoon every 30 seconds.

Because our chicken weighed over 5 pounds—25% bigger than called for—I used more za’atar mix and doubled the preserved lemon vinaigrette. It also took a bit longer to come to temp, but not much because we used a convection roast setting. If at any time while in the oven the skin seems to be getting too dark, rest foil over it while the meat continues to reach temperature. Test both breast and thighs with an instant-read thermometer.

Za’atar-Rubbed Butterflied Chicken with Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 5 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Za’atar (recipe below)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 4-lb. whole chicken, giblets discarded
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh mint
  • ¼ preserved lemon, pulp and white pith removed, rind rinsed and minced (1 Tbsp.)
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard

Directions

  1. Combine 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon za’atar, and 1 teaspoon salt in small bowl.
  2. With chicken breast side down, use kitchen shears to cut through bones on either side of backbone. Discard backbone and trim any excess fat or skin at neck. Flip chicken and tuck wingtips behind back. Press firmly on breastbone to flatten, then pound breast to be same thickness as leg and thigh. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and, using your fingers, gently loosen skin covering breast and thighs.
  3. Rub za’atar-oil paste evenly under skin. Transfer chicken to large plate and refrigerate uncovered for 6 to 8 hours.
  4. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees.
  5. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Combine 1 tablespoon oil and remaining 1 tablespoon za’atar in small bowl. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place chicken skin side down in skillet, reduce heat to medium, and place heavy pot on chicken to press flat.
  6. Cook chicken until skin is crisp and browned, 20 to 25 minutes. (If chicken is not crisp after 20 minutes, increase heat to medium high).
  7. Off heat, remove pot and carefully flip chicken. Brush skin with za’atar mixture, transfer skillet to oven, and roast until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 10 to 20 minutes.
  8. Transfer chicken to carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk mint, lemon, vinegar, mustard, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper together in bowl until combined. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in remaining 3 tablespoons oil until emulsified. Carve chicken and serve with dressing.

Za’atar

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. sumac
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Directions

  1. Process thyme and oregano in spice grinder or mortar and pestle until finely ground and powdery.
  2. Transfer to bowl and stir in sumac, sesame seeds, and salt.
    (Za’atar can be stored at room temperature in airtight container for up to 1 year.)

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipes from The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen

Butterflied Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Fennel, Rosemary and Orange

First order of business for this scrumptious recipe from Molly Stevens is to butterfly—aka spatchcockthe chicken (or have your butcher do it for you). A method we use often because the flattened bird cooks more evenly than a whole one, where the slower-cooking dark meat gets more heat exposure and the lighter breast meat remains protected at the center of the pan.

This recipe arrangement allows for a marvelous flavor exchange as the chicken bastes the fennel-orange-rosemary mix with savory juices, all while absorbing its sweet-citrusy-woodsy aromas. Just writing this is getting my juices flowing! And everything on just one pan, who doesn’t love that?!

If at all possible, try to get blood oranges, with their sweet, yet tart, exceedingly aromatic and juicy fruit. Along with their lovely, jewel-like red color, blood oranges tend to have a noticeable and delicious raspberry edge to their flavor.

With the potatoes around the perimeter of the baking sheet, they get the full brunt of the oven’s heat, producing brown crispy exteriors while maintaining creamy interiors. This approach to cooking a variety of elements all in one pan (with different handling) results in a complementary alliance of flavors and textures. A good bottle of wine would be the only other accompaniment needed…

Plan Ahead: For the best flavor and texture, season the chicken at least 4, and up to 24 hours in advance.

One follow up note, some of the fennel wedges were still not completely cooked through at the end. To solve this issue, first make the fennel wedges only 1/2″ thick, and then slice off some of the inner triangular core of the fennel, but leave enough to keep the wedges intact.

Butterflied Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Fennel, Rosemary and Orange

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp. black pepercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika, smoked (pimentón) or regular, sweet or hot
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 4-lb. chicken, butterflied and patted dry
  • 2 large fennel bulbs (about 1 1/2 lbs. untrimmed)
  • 1 3/4 lbs. med. red or white potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 small blood (or navel) orange, scrubbed
  • 2 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 2 3- to 4-inch fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

Directions

  1. Combine the coriander seeds and peppercorns in a mortar or spice grinder and coarsely grind. Transfer to a small cup and add the pimentón (paprika) and 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and stir to combine.
  2. Pat the chicken dry all over and sprinkle half of this mixture on the underside of the chicken, rubbing in so the spices adhere. Flip and rub the remainder of the bird, including legs and wings, with the spices. Set the chicken, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet or tray. Tuck the wingtips under the back of the chicken, and the thighs are not flopped outward. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 4, and up to 24 hours.
  3. When ready to roast, heat the oven to 400° (375° convection) with a rack near the middle. Let the chicken sit at room temperature while the oven heats.
  4. Meanwhile, cut the fennel into wedges just over 1-inch across at their widest. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch wedges.Cut the orange crosswise in half and set one half aside for juicing later. Cut the remaining half in half, and then crosswise into 1/4-inch quarter moon shapes.
  5. Place the fennel and orange slices in the center of a large heavy rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the potatoes off to one side. Drizzle the olive oil over everything and season with salt and pepper. Toss the fennel and oranges together to coat with oil and seasonings. Do the same with the potatoes but keep them separate.
  6. Spread out the vegetables in a single layer, grouping the fennel and orange toward the center and the potatoes around the perimeter—this will allow the chicken to protect the quicker-cooking fennel and oranges from burning, and ensure crisp brown potatoes.
  7. Place the rosemary sprigs on the fennel and squeeze the juice from the reserved orange half onto it.
  8. Place the chicken on the vegetables, skin side up. The potatoes should be fully exposed or poking out and the fennel mostly tucked under the bird. Pour the vermouth or the wine around the potatoes, avoiding the chicken.
  9. Roast, stirring the potatoes and rotating the pan about halfway through, until the chicken skin is crisp and well-browned in spots. The juices from the breast should run almost clear when you prick it with a knife. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh (without touching the bone) should register 170°, in 45 to 50 minutes.
  10. Remove chicken to a cutting board with trough to catch the juices, and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. Stir the vegetables, combining the fennel, potatoes and oranges and coating them with the pan drippings. If the fennel and potatoes are not tender, return them to the oven to finish roasting while the chicken rests.
  12. Halve the chicken by cutting straight down the center bone. Cut each whole leg away from each breast half and cut the legs into thighs and drumsticks. Cut each breast half crosswise in half, leaving the wing attached to the upper portion, creating 8 total pieces.
  13. Pour any carving juices over the vegetables and serve immediately.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe from from Molly Stevens cookbook “All About Dinner”