This is my secret for success with a small roasted chicken. It's skin will be mahogany brown and crackling, while all of it's meat, white and dark alike, will be moist and flavorful. You can butterfly the chicken yourself if you don't have a butcher that will do it for you. It's easy with poultry shears. Working slowly and deliberately, use the shears to cut along each side of the backbone from neck to tail and remove it. Turn the bird breast-up, spread it open, and flatten it with a firm blow from the heel of your hand. Easy Peasy, and mighty delicious!
- 1 (3 lb) frying chickens, butterflied
- 1 sprig fresh flat leaf parsley or 2 fresh basil leaves or 1 sprig rosemary
- salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 large lemons, juice of (6 to 8 TBS)
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
- 1⁄4 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley or 1⁄4 cup finely shredded fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 450*F.
- Prepare the chicken by gently easing your fingertips between the skin and the meat at the neck opening, to loosen the skin all over the breast, taking care not to tear the skin.
- Insert the parsley sprig, basil or rosemary under the skin.
- Season the chicken generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat an oven-proof skillet large enough to hold the chicken over high heat.
- Add the olive oil and swirl it in the skillet.
- As soon as you begin to see slight wisps of smoke, carefully place the chicken skin side down in the skillet.
- Sear the chicken, undisturbed, while reducing the heat little by little to medium, until it's skin has turned golden brown and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Carefully turn the chicken skin side up.
- Put the skillet with the chicken into the preheated oven and cook until the chicken is deep golden brown and the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh meat is pierced with a thin skewer, 10 to 15 minutes more, depending on it's size.
- When the chicken is done, remove it from the skillet with tongs and transfer it to a cutting board.
- Pour off all but a thin glaze of fat from the skillet.
- Return the skillet to high heat, add the chicken stock and the lemon juice, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan.
- Boil the liquid down until it has reduced by half it's volume, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Turn down the heat and add the mustard, stirring briskly with a wire whisk.
- Add the butter a piece at a time to make a creamy sauce, making sure each piece has been incorporated completely before adding the next.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in half of the parsley or basil.
- To serve, spoon the sauce into the centers of two to four heated plates.
- With a large sharp knife, cut the chicken into two halves or four equal pieces.
- Place the chicken on the plates, sprinkle with the remaining parsley or basil and serve.
A great main dish! The flavors were wonderful together. The sauce was too thin for my liking, so I added a little cornstarch to thicken it, but overall it's a excellent recipe!
I made this with my herb of choice being rosemary...it was fantastic, especially the sauce, which is to die for! Despite the long list of instructions, this is quick and easy enough to do for an after-work meal, which it was for us and was quite a treat for a weeknight dinner. I also had to increase the oven time to 25 minutes to assure no pink in the chicken. Thanks MarieAlice, this was a wonderful recipe that I'll be making again for sure.
An elegant and economical meal. I used fresh parsley - my chicken was over 4 lbs, so I increased bake time to 30 minutes. Turned out moist and flavorful with great presentation.