Preview of Vol 2: Spatchcock Chicken
There are few things better than going to a friend’s home in the middle of a weekday for a spur of the moment lunch. This is one of the perks of being freelance, and one that I am often able to indulge with my dear friend Georgina Wolseley. Not only is she a talented florist but also a skilled chef; which I reaped the rewards of over the times she hosted our mid-week lunch. It was on one afternoon in March that she made me this recipe for a Lemon Spatchcock Chicken. Luckily I had my camera with me and decided to take some photos. The story you find here is one that was not planned, nor staged, but shows the true devotion two friends have to eating well together.
Bay roasted spatchcock chicken with capers, chickpeas and root vegetable purée
For the purée
6 Jerusalem artichokes
Nutmeg half a teaspoon
1 table spoon of grainy mustard
Knob of butter or good olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the chicken
1 spatchcocked chicken (approx. 1.75kg)
5 bay leaves
3 banana shallots, halved
1 can of chick peas, drained
1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock
100ml of vermouth or white wine
Handful of fresh oregano leaves
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 lemon (unwaxed), sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 200°C (or 180°C fan).
To make the root purée, peel and chop the parsnips, Jerusalem artichoke and swede into pieces of roughly the same size and boil in a pan of salted water until tender (roughly 20 minutes). Drain the vegetables and put them into a blender along with the grainy mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper, a fresh grating of nutmeg and either a knob of butter or a glug of olive oil. Blend into a smooth purée and set aside.
Lay the banana shallots flat-side down in a metal roasting tin with the sliced lemon. Place the spatchcock chicken on top of them. Generously season the skin of the chicken after drizzling and rubbing in a table spoon of olive oil.
Add a litre of stock to the bottom of the pan, along with the bay leaves, vinegar and vermouth. Before putting the tin into the preheated oven scatter over the oregano leaves, and then cover loosely with foil.
Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting with the juices every 20–30 minutes to keep the chicken lovely and succulent. For the last 20 minutes remove the foil, and add the chickpeas and capers, allowing the skin to crisp up. This is also the time to taste the yummy jus at the bottom of the pan and adjust the seasoning, if needed.
Remove the chicken from the oven and cover it again with foil. While it rests, gently heat up the purée in a pan for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Carve the breast of the chicken and separate the thighs and legs. Plate up the purée and place the chicken on top, then spoon over the jus with the chickpeas and capers.
Garnish each plate with a halved shallot and slice of lemon. Voilà!