Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Prefect Birthday Treat

Yesterday was my Beau's Birthday. He is not a picky guy so he told me I was free to pick any restaurant for his birthday dinner...until he opened his birthday gift that morning and realized that he would much rather play with Google TV after work than sit at a restaurant. Sirens went off in my head! What am I going to cook tonight!? It was his birthday so it had to be great, but fairly quick to make!

Luckily, I started my new job at The Institute of Culinary Education on Monday so great recipes will always be at my finger tips. Obviously, being the "new girl" means I don't really know the in's and out's so I asked a few coworkers for recipe ideas instead. One of my coworkers happens to be a recipe tester at and recommended this amazing recipe for Spatchcocked and Braise-Roasted Chicken. My first reaction was "What the heck is that!?"

I have never heard of spatchcocked chicken but soon found out that it simply means the backbone is removed the the chicken and cooked flat; a much faster way to cook an entire bird. It seemed delicious and I definitely wanted to impress the boyfriend so this was it!

Since this is so new to me, I thought I'd give you a peak at what this looked like while cooking.

One 4 to 4 1/2 pound chicken

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed (skins left on)
2 rosemary sprigs
8 sage leaves
1/2 cup fino sherry or dry white wine
About 1 cup chicken broth
1 lemon, cut into thin slices (skins left on; seeds discarded)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using poultry shears, cut the backbone out of the chicken. (Or ask your butcher to do this for you. I did...super time saver!) Reserve the backbone. Turn the chicken skin-side-up and press down on the breast bone to flatten the chicken. Generously season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.
In a casserole pan or other low shallow pan large enough to fit the flattened chicken, melt the butter in the oil over medium high heat. When the foam subsides, add the chicken skin-side-down, and the backbone, and brown well, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove to a plate. Pour off all but 1 1/2 tablespoons fat.
3) Set the pan back on the stove. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook over medium heat until the shallot has softened, about 2 minutes. Add the rosemary, sage and sherry. Increase the heat and boil off nearly all the sherry. Add 1 cup chicken broth and the lemon slices. Gently lower the chicken back into the pan, again skin-side up.
If needed, add more broth to come 1/2-inch up the side of the pan. Transfer the pan to the oven, and braise-roast until the chicken is cooked through (an internal temperature of 165 degrees), 30 to 50 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes -- uncovered, or the skin will soften! Carve the chicken. Strain the pan juices and adjust the seasoning. Serve bird and cooked-down broth, and enjoy!

I cannot stop telling you how delicious this meal was. I served this with green beans and rosemary potatoes. YUM!! Literally, every bite of the chicken was packed with flavor, so juicy and incredibly tender. This is a great meal to make if you're looking to impress. ;)

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