Butterflied (Spatchcock) Roasted Chicken With Quick Jus

Roast Chicken is my comfort food, my last meal and my benchmark for a great French bistro. But I always had a problem getting the thighs and legs fully cooked without the breast meat becoming the Shara Desert of chicken. It was then that I consulted the website of the person I consider the kitchen god:  Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats. This is our version of his terrific recipe--and it almost magically (and scientifically) solves the problem of roasting chicken to perfection.

Servings: 2-4

1 Large Chicken, about 4 to 5 pounds (1.8 to 2.3kg)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1 Lemon, juiced, divided
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder (optional, (5g) See Note)
2 Teaspoons Perfect Spice
1 Medium Onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
1 Medium Carrot, peeled and roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 Medium Rib Celery, roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 Sprig Thyme
1 Kafir Lime Leaf
1 Bay Leaf
1 Cup Fino Sherry or Dry Vermouth (240ml)
1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce (5ml)
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (30g)
Truffle Zest

  • Place oven rack in upper-middle position and preheat oven to 500°F (260°C).
  • Using sharp kitchen shears, remove spine from chicken and cut spine into 5 to 6 one-inch-long pieces. Set spine aside. Flatten chicken by placing skin side up on a cutting board and applying firm pressure to breastbone. Transfer to a rack set in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Position chicken so that breasts are aligned with center of baking sheet and legs are close to edge.
  • Spray chicken with 1 tablespoon (15ml) oil. Combine 1 tablespoon (15g) kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder (if using) in a small bowl. Sprinkle all over chicken. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon over the chicken and sprinkle with Perfect Spice. Rub chicken to distribute seasoning evenly all over skin. Cover with RoastEasy chainmail.
  • Roast chicken until thickest part of breast close to bone registers 150°F (66°C) on an leave-in thermometer and joint between thighs and body registers at least 175°F (80°C), about 45 minutes, reducing heat to 450°F (232°C) if chicken starts to darken too quickly.
  • Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon (15ml) oil in a small saucepan over high heat until shimmering. Add chicken spine and cut up neck, if there is one, and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned, about 3 minutes. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add thyme, kafir lime leaf and bay leaf and deglaze with sherry or vermouth and 1 cup (240ml) water, using a wooden or silicone spoon to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Reduce heat to maintain simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Strain out solids and return liquid to pan. Boil over medium-high heat until approximately 1/3 cup (80ml) remains, about 7 minutes. Whisk in soy sauce, butter, and lemon juice off heat. Season to taste with salt, pepper and truffle zest.
  • Remove chicken from oven, transfer to cutting board and allow to rest 5 minutes before carving. Serve with hot jus.

Baking powder helps the skin to crisp.

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