This spicy butterflied chicken cooks in record time and is mega delicious! Serve with sweet potato wedges for an easy family meal.
Buying groceries online is wonderful and has simplified my life soooo much – especially since I frequently require specific ingredients for commissioned recipes in a real hurry. But there’s one downside – you can’t pick the ingredients yourself and it’s not unusual to have several items expiring on the same day. I found myself facing this problem the other day – I admit I should have been more careful – and suddenly realised I had a whole chicken to roast with 40 minutes to spare before the kids returned home. Now cooking chicken in a roasting bag is pretty fast… but not that speedy.
Enter… butterflied chicken! This method is so amazingly easy and the results are outstanding. Seriously folks, family sized whole chiken ready in 40 minutes and deliciously succulent to boot – I am a total convert! I was aware of the method but it was Donna Hay magazine (I finally subscribed!) that gave me the push to finally try it. The recipe can be customised to include whatever spices you like, but I must say I am loving this spice-rub version. The sweet potatoe wedges cook at the same time and also use the same seasoning – it could not be simpler.
Butterflying a chicken involves cutting along the backbone with kitchen scissors and the pressing the chicken flat. It is really very easy but has a pretty high ick factor if you are a bit squeamish. You could always can ask your butcher to do it for you…
- 1 whole chicken 1.6kg | 3.5 pounds
- 3 lemons halved
- 1 bulb garlic halved horizontally
- 6 large sweet potatoes scrubbed clean, sliced into chunky wedges
- olive oil to drizzle
- freshly ground pepper to season
- For the spice rub
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp dired oregano
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic granules or powder
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- Preheat the oven to 220C (425F). Line a deep roasting tray with greaseproof paper and do same with a smaller tray for the potatoes.
- Put all the ingredients for the spice rub in a pestle and mortal and crush together.
- Place the chicken on a board breast-side down. Use kitchen scissors to cut along the backbone.
- Turn the chicken over and then press down to flatten. Transfer to the prepared tray.
- Rub the chicken with the spice rub to coat - reserving some for the potatoes. Arrange the garlic and lemons around it and drizzle with olive oil.
- Place the potatoes in a plastic bag and add 1 tablespoon of the spice rub and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat and empty onto the smaller tray.
- Place the chicken on a low shelf in the oven and the potatoes above (or side by side if you have the space). Roast for 40 minutes, basting the chicken with the pan juices halfway through. The chicken is ready when the internal temperature is 165° D (75° C) if you want to check with a digital thermometer.
- Take out of the oven and leave to rest for 5-10 minutes before carving.