Roast Chicken is on the menu today! For those already on the beautiful Island of Mauritius it’s a great one to prepare for a BBQ either at home or at the seaside, under the filao tree, sea breeze – proper Mauritian style.
For the rest of us who aren’t so lucky to be in paradise right now, I’m going to show you step by step how to make this simple yet delicious meal.
What is spatchcock chicken?
It’s a name given to a flattened chicken whereby a whole chicken is cut in the middle into a butterfly shape.
Nothing complicated here this can be done by using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut in the middle and casually flatten the chicken. The technique of Spatchcocking is great as it exposes the chicken surface area including the skin which is a real bonus of having more crispy chicken skins to enjoy.
In doing so the cooking /roasting time is much quicker with very little effort. The other nice thing about it you can roast a lovely whole chicken cooked to perfection on the barbecue, without any hassle.
Ingredients Serves 6-8
- One whole free-range chicken
- 1 whole lemon – thinly sliced
- Juice & zest of one whole lemon
- 4-6 shallots – cut into quarters
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- Ground ginger & garlic
- Few curry leaves – finely chopped (optional)
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped or alternatively 1-2 tsp chilli powder (I use Kashmiri powder
- Olive oil
- 1 Tbs margarine or butter
- Seasoning soy sauce
- Drizzle of clear honey
- Start by preparing the marinade – In a small bowl mix all the dry spice ingredients followed by a good drizzle of olive oil, and the rest of the wet ingredients, give it a good mix and set aside.
2. Butterfly chicken by placing breast side down and using heavy-duty kitchen scissors or shears to cut along both sides of backbone, turn chicken over and open it, press gently to flatten it. Using a sharp knife slash into the chicken thigh (this is optional). This will help the chicken to cook quicker, and enable the flavours/seasoning to penetrate right into meat.
3. A little tip, using your finger gently run under the chicken skin in such a way to separate the skin from the chicken. In doing this I like to rub the spice mix in this cavity rather than rubbing the spices all over the skin surface – this gives the chicken a more flavorsome taste without burning the spices leaving you with crispy spicy chicken skin.
4. Rub the prepared marinade spice inside and under the skin cavity and paint rest of the marinade on surface, placing the lemon slices around.
5. It is best to marinate the chicken beforehand then place in a dish cover with cling film and leave to marinate overnight of few hours before. When ready to cook take the chicken out of the fridge to come to room temperature
6. If cooking in the oven, preheat it to 200°C. Place the chicken skin side up in a roasting dish and roast for 45 minutes at 200°C. Baste the chicken through, scatter the shallots around in the baking tray reduce oven temperature to 180°C and cook for another 30minutes until the chicken skin is crisp and the meat almost falling off the bone.
7. Transfer chicken to a carving board, and leave to rest 10 minutes. Cut chicken into portions, and serve with roasted vegetable. I served mine with tender stem green baby broccoli and roast vegetables.
Brinda’s cooking tips:
- If cooking on the BBQ, cook for 10 minutes on the grill skin down, turn regularly until thoroughly cooked.
- If cooking on a skillet, add a drizzle of oil on a hot skillet. On high heat start by sealing the whole chicken skin, lower the heat to medium and using a tong keep moving the chicken side to side every so often until thoroughly and evenly cooked. Add the shallots halfway and cook until golden brown.