Flattening or spatch-cocking a chicken is surprisingly easy, and means a whole chicken will cook through in just 45 minutes. This piri piri recipe is flavoursome and perfect for a special weeknight supper with all the family.
To spatch-cock the chicken, place the whole bird on a chopping board and turn it breast-side down. Remove the backbone by cutting up one side from the base of the bird to the neck end, cutting right through the ribs attached to the backbone as you go. Now open the bird up and cut along the other side of the spine (exactly as before) to remove it completely.
Place the chicken on a chopping board, skin-side down, and press down firmly on the breast area with the palm of your hand to break the breast bone (this will flatten the bird so that it cooks evenly). Turn the chicken over and flip its legs inwards so that the bird lies as flat as possible.
Now transfer the flattened chicken, skin-side up, to a roasting tin lined with non-stick baking paper and coat with the piri piri sauce. Leave to marinate in a cool place for 20 minutes, if there is time. Or cover in clingfilm and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Allow the chicken to come up to room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
Preheat the oven to gas 7, 220°C, 200°C fan. Cook at the top of the oven for 20 minutes, then quickly baste with any sauce collected in the tin. Cook for a further 20-25 minutes, until cooked through with slightly-charred skin. The juices should run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced. Rest the bird for 5 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving with a green salad, lemon wedges and oven chips.
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
Suitable for freezing when raw or cooked. Wrap well and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost in the fridge overnight and cook as below if raw or reheat thoroughly if already cooked.
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