Some of the dishes I post about here are created in a flash of inspiration and then written about shortly after, others are old family favourites that sit on my ‘to be blogged’ list, and others almost invisibly become part of the family reportoire before I suddenly realise I should really post this one…
This recipe, for want of a better word, is cooking technique, meal planning idea, and recipe all in one…you spatchcock chickens so they cook faster, coat them with a wonderfully fresh green marinade that leaves the meat beautifully flavoured and succulent, and cook two small chickens at once, leaving plenty of meat for another meal. You can obviously apply the same idea to different flavour combinations, but this combination is particularly nice for using the leftovers in a variety of SE Asian or even Mexican meals.
I have spatchcocked the chickens myself, and there are videos that show how, but I almost always ask my butcher to do it, making sure they save me the bones for stock, as they have much better knives and are immeasurably faster!
As an example of how this simple idea turns one meal into three, this is what we did this week. I cooked these chickens for Sunday dinner, and as a family of four we ate most of one chicken, accompanied by vegetables, in this case baked potatoes and green beans. I saved the bones from the chicken we ate, and after dinner removed all the meat from both carcasses, and put it in an airtight container in the fridge.
I made stock from the bones, including the bones from the butcher, and stored that in the fridge also. I always deglaze the baking pan with some boiling water, so all those lovely sticky bits are added to the stock. Later this week, I made a lovely herby fragrant chicken soup from the stock, adding udon noodles, corn kernels and about half the left over chicken (using mainly the smaller pieces from the thighs and carcass) and topping it with fresh coriander leaves left over from the stalks that went into the marinade. The basic technique for both chicken stock and chicken noodle soup is here, I just substituted udon noodles, corn and coriander for the egg noodles, carrot and parsley.
Last night, I sliced the remaining chicken breast, and added it to this Asian cabbage salad along with some hokkein noodles, for a light summer meal.
Very green marinated and spiced roast chicken
- 100g fresh coriander (can use just stalks and roots)
- 50g parsley (can use just stalks)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 20g fresh ginger
- 1 red chilli, choose depending on preferred heat level
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 80ml flavourless oil (rice bran, canola, grape seed etc)
- 2 small chickens, spatchcocked (about size 15-16)
Wash the coriander and parsley well, roughly chop, and add to a food processor with the peeled garlic and ginger, seeded chilli, cumin, coriander and salt. Process until finely chopped, then add oil, and process again until a paste. Add a small amount of water if needed.
Put the chickens in a large baking dish, pressing to flatten if needed, and spread the paste all over, including under the skin of the breast and thighs. With the chickens spatchcocked, you should find it fairly easy to use your fingers to lift the skin away from the top of the thigh and breast, and spread some of the paste in the resulting ‘pocket’ with your fingers. Put the chickens in the fridge to marinate for several hours or overnight.
When ready to eat, take the chicken from the fridge to return to room temperature, heat the oven to 200C and bake the chicken for about 1 hour. It should be deep brown and if you put a skewer into the thigh joint, the juices should come out clear.
Serves four with enough for at least one other meal…
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