Removing the backbone to butterfly a whole bird is known as spatchcocking. You can do this with smaller birds such as Guinea Fowl or Poussins but here I've used a freerange 3½lb chicken. It's not difficult at all if you follow my instructions. It makes cooking the bird so much quicker, you'll get a lovely moist chicken throughout. This is a great method for the grill or BBQ but here I baked it in a hot oven for around 45 minutes.
I chose Lemon & Cumin to marinade the bird but you could choose what ever flavours you like, from curry & yoghurt, peri peri, mustard & honey or whatever you'd prefer.
First prepare the marinade
2 tbsp good olive oil
3 shallots finely chopped
1 red chilli sliced (optional)
2 heaped tsps cumin
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
1 heaped tsp paprika
1 tsp ginger powder
1½ lemons, zested, & the juice
sprigs of fresh thyme
freshly ground black pepper
Stir all these ingredients together and it's ready
you'll need a 3½lb freerange (preferably) chicken
a good pair of kitchen scissors
2 long skewers
a dish large enough to hold the bird (non metallic)
lay the chicken on a board
Insert two skewers starting with the wings,through the breast and out through the legs as shown. This will keep the bird together and make it really easy to turn.
Cover well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but I like to prepare this the day before it's needed as the flavours are so much better that way.
When your ready to cook it, heat the oven to around 220c 425f gas 7 and roast breasts facing down for around 25 mins then turn the bird over and roast for another 25 mins or until cooked through but still juicy. Cover with foil & leave to rest for around 15 minutes before portioning it out. This can also be BBQ'd keep it well away from the hot coals though, try 15/20 mins a side and check to make sure it's thoroughly cooked. I'd suggest around 45mins in all but this will depend on the heat intensity of your grill.
I love to serve this with some sweet potato chips, I roasted mine in the oven just sprinlking with a little olive oil and then baking for around 30 minutes turning once.
The salad I choose was just avocado, toasted pinenuts & watercress or spinach. I didn't use any dressing just a spoonful of the chicken juices poured over was delicious enough.
Hope you'll all have a go, you'll certainly impress your friends & family.