Author Notes: A heady, deeply savoury spatchcocked and truffled roast chicken that will fill your kitchen with delicious smells - so easy to make too. A video link to spatchcock is on my blog.
—Selma | Selma's Table
1.5 kg kg
chicken – free-range or organic preferably especially if you are going to make a stock with the bones.
jar of Sacla’s Black Summer Truffle Pesto (or whizz together some parmesan cheese, pine nuts and truffle oil into a paste)
of a bulb of garlic
bunch fresh thyme sprigs
salt and pepper
wine glass of dry white wine
grams parmesan cheese
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F. Get your roasting tin out. and place a good handful of thyme sprigs on it as a bed for the chicken.
- Slice the lemon in half and one of the halves into quarters. Separate the garlic cloves but leave the skins ON.
- Remove ½ of the pesto from the jar and place it in a small bowl or plate – this will stop any contamination – something that I am a little obsessive about. Divide the paste into quarters to make it easy to use once you get going.
- Get a good pinch of sea salt onto a small plate and a good grinding of black pepper too – see note 3 about contamination!
- Spatchcock the chicken. Remove from packaging, undo the trussing or string and discard. Turn the chicken over onto it’s breast and cut along either side of the backbone, starting at the Parson’s nose (tail). Flip it over, open it out and with the heel of your hand, press onto the breasts, while you lean into it to give it some weight – this will help to flatten it out.
- Flip it onto it’s breast again and using your fingers, spread the underside with ¼ of the truffle pesto. Season with a little salt and pepper and place onto the roasting dish.
- Starting at the neck/breast end of the chicken, using your fingers and hands, gently, being careful not to tear the skin, separate and ease the skin away from the flesh – go all the way to the top of the legs. You will have to get your hands right under the skin – not great if you are squeamish! Place half the truffle pesto on the flesh, under the skin and spread it as evenly as you can, as far as the tops of the legs. I find it easier to do one side of the chicken at a time. Pull and adjust the skin so that it is in place and covering the very top of chicken and wipe off any excess paste that is clinging onto your hands onto the chicken skin. Squeeze over the juice from half the lemon. Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper.
- Now go and thoroughly wash your hands. With hot water and soap and get someone to turn the taps on for you – did I mention I was obsessive about contamination?
- Scatter the unpeeled garlic cloves around the chicken. Dribble the cloves and the chicken with a little olive oil. Pour in the wine around the edge of the tin. and place in the oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the heat down to 180C/350F and continue roasting for another 20 minutes.
- Remove tin from the oven and turn up the heat to 200C/400F. Using a spatula, spread the remaining truffle pesto onto the skin and sprinkle over the parmesan cheese. Place back in the oven for 10 more minutes. Check to make sure that it is cooked through – no blood running in the section between the leg and the body and remove chicken and garlic to a serving plate, loosely covering with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, drain off any oil in the roasting tin leaving behind all the lovely juices. Place tin on the hob/stove top. Bring to a boil then simmer, scraping down the sticky bits from around the sides and bottom of the tin with a wooden spoon. Let this reduce until you have a enough for a little jus or gravy. If you are making green beans, get them on now.
- Serve with lemon wedges, parboiled and crushed roasted new potatoes, green beans and a salad. The caramelised garlic just pops out of their skins and is wonderful spread on the potatoes or bits of chicken as you eat.