Dinner Tonight: Spatchcocked and Braise-Roasted Chicken

February  2, 2016

“That is so brave, ambitious, and admirable.”

That was our Co-Founder, Amanda Hesser, on the all-about-entertaining episode of our podcast, Burnt Toast. The source of her awe? A weeknight dinner party.

Tuesday night entertaining is great in theory—something to look forward to during the workweek, and a chance to host a “quick” dinner party free from the expectations of a Saturday night, multi-course affair. Enter the spatchocked chicken, the true MVP of the weeknight dinner party.

Since the backbone is removed from spatchcocked chickens, they cook in about half the time of their backboned counterparts. And since you’re not only serving roast chicken, but calling it “spatchcocked,” your guests are guaranteed to be impressed. Amanda’s recipe has you brown the chicken and prepare a quick lemony braise, which keeps the chicken moist as it roasts in a hot oven. Get a couple of loaves of nice bread, maybe make these genius haricots verts, and buy more wine than you think you’ll need.

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Grocery List

(Organized by area of the market)

2 rosemary sprigs
8 sage leaves
2 large shallots
1 4 to 4 1/2 pound chicken

We’re assuming you already have 4 garlic cloves, chicken stock, fino sherry or dry white wine, butter, olive oil, and a lemon. If not, add those to your list!

About an hour before dinner, spatchcock your chicken. This step-by-step guide should help you out. (Alternatively, have your butcher do this for you!) Brown your chicken in a large pan for about 5 minutes, then set aside. Prepare your braise—combining the shallots, garlic, herbs, sherry or wine, and lemon—in the same pan you just used for the chicken, and then lower the chicken back in. Pop the pan into a 425° F oven and go set your table. The chicken will cook for about 30 to 50 minutes, depending on the size of the bird.

Warm some bread, throw together a salad or quick side, and pour some wine. Check the internal temperature of the chicken—you’re looking for 165 or higher.

Greet your guests, plate everything up, and pat yourself on the back. Amanda would be very impressed.

What are your weeknight entertaining tips? Tell us in the comments!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • LisaK
  • pdperrich
Annie Crabill

Written by: Annie Crabill


LisaK February 2, 2016
I always spatchcock my roast chickens now-- last night I cooked mine on the top rack on a sheet pan with potatoes and bacon-- it browned perfectly, and the leftovers went into a pot pie tonight.
pdperrich February 2, 2016
This is a favorite in our household. So yummy and quicker than roasting an uncut bird.