SPATCHCOCK CHICKEN WITH FRESH FIGS AND THYME The term spatchcock might sound complicated, but basically it means a bird that has had its backbone removed and is flattened into one layer. This method allows for faster, more even cooking. And by increasing the surface area, you increase the amount of browned bits that make roast chicken so scrumptious. You can ask your butcher counter to remove the backbone for you. A pan sauce made with sherry vinegar and fresh figs creates a rich but balanced sauce to drizzle on the chicken. Don’t forget to salt your chicken really well, as salt brings out the best in chicken.
- 1 (3 1⁄2 to 4 pound) chicken, backbone removed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 shallots, minced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1⁄2 cup chicken stock
- 8 ounces fresh figs, cut in half
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a large cast-iron fry pan in the oven while it is preheating.
- Lay the chicken breast-side up on a cutting board. Using your hands, carefully press the chicken down into the cutting board, flattening it. Liberally sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Place the chicken, breast-side up, in the preheated fry pan. Place it in the oven and roast the chicken for about 45 minutes. Tent it with aluminum foil if the skin starts to get too dark, until a meat thermometer reads 165°F when inserted into the deepest part of a thigh. Carefully remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest on a platter.
- Carefully place the hot fry pan on the stovetop over low heat and add the shallots, garlic, vinegar, stock, and figs. Cook until the figs are warmed through and the liquid is reduced by one-third. Melt in the butter, if using, add the thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the pan sauce.