Weeknight Cooking

A 35-Minute Weeknight Roast Chicken

January  7, 2016

Sunday-afternoon cooking is a wonderful thing—in the hours before another chaotic work week rolls in, there's time to prepare: a quiche for office lunches, a large batch of pasta that will get you through the next few days, a poached fish that will last at least until Tuesday. But come Wednesday, the dent you made in your ready-made food stock starts to widen, and by Thursday, you're lucky if you have half a serving left of that delicious pasta. Enter: the pre-marinated roast chicken.

Photo by Mark Weinberg

This butterflied roast chicken, marinated in a mixture of buttermilk, tarragon, Dijon mustard, and nutmeg (among other herbs), tastes better the longer it sits and soaks in the simple mixture—so if you set aside 10 minutes to prepare it on Sunday, it will be perfect mid-week. Come Wednesday, all you have to do is throw it on the stove for 5 minutes, then into the oven for 30 minutes; the butterflied cut helps it cook that much faster. And since the recipe only takes 1/4 cup of wine, you'll have plenty to sip on while you kick off your shoes and raise a glass to a roast chicken that's as easy as Sunday morning.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Cody Anderson
    Cody Anderson
  • Ann
  • Matt
  • ChefJune
  • Leslie Stephens
    Leslie Stephens
I eat everything.


Cody A. January 12, 2016
Nutmeg will add an earthy taste to the dish, not a sweet one, and won't stand out too much as its own flavour. It will help to bring balance to the many strong flavours here (Dijon, garlic, tarragon) and you may feel that there is something undefinable "missing" if you omit it.

You may have actually put nutmeg on chicken or turkey in the past, as it's generally an ingredient in commercial poultry seasoning (along with coriander and sage).
Matt January 12, 2016
Thanks. Your answer is very helpful and informative.
Ann January 10, 2016
To add to Matt' question below....I'm not a nutmeg fan, particularly in savory dishes. Does this somehow enhance the marinade and simply blend in with the other flavored, or is the nutmeg actually tasted in the cooked dish? Wondering if I should omit it........?????
Matt January 7, 2016
Thanks for the recipe! Just curious, does the chicken taste sweet at all? I'm wondering how much of an impact the nutmeg has.
ChefJune January 7, 2016
How does one butterfly a chicken? Or did you mean spatchcocked?
Leslie S. January 7, 2016
They're interchangeable terms—so yes, butterflied, or if you prefer spatchcocked! The recipe provides a more in-depth explanation than is provided in this piece, but here's a helpful link as well: https://food52.com/blog/10971-how-to-spatchcock-a-chicken-step-by-step