This meal is just downright good. It's stick to your ribs yet healthy and it's easy on the prep time. Sometimes a simple meal is just what you need, and this is one of those kinds of meals. Please try this, I promise that no matter who you are you will not be disappointed. Smother everything in the gravy and you will be exported to a cross between Thanksgiving and everyday food bliss.
Lucinda Scala Quinn must be a genius, because I never would have attempted to cut a backbone out of a chicken with kitchen shears if I hadn't seen her do it first. In all honesty, it was too easy. I even popped the bone in a zip-loc bag and threw it in the freezer in case I ever get fiesty and decide to make homemade chicken stock. I wish I had pictures to show you of the whole ordeal, but chickeny hands and cameras don't go together. Otherwise you would have seen my sordid expression when I realized that I'd started cutting down the underside of the chicken rather than the backside. Whoops! Oh well, no damage done. I quickly flipped it over and saved face. Phew. It took some muscle to crack the scissors down, but once the backbone came out everything else was a piece of cake. I must admit, it feels a little morbid when you flip the chicken onto its backside and press it down flat, whether you're a meat lover or someone who's just started eating chicken after three years. I guess I plunged into meat-eating full force with this recipe!
P.S. I made Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Pudding Pie for dessert.
Flat Roast Chicken
*Note: the chicken and vegetables both roast at the same heat. Plan accordingly, since they can be cooked together to save time.
one whole 3-4 lb chicken
1 tbl olive oil
1 tbl salted butter
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a cutting board and using kitchen shears, cut out the chicken's backbone. Turn the chicken over and press firmly to make the chicken lay out flat (you might hear a popping noise). Pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, preheat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. When the skillet is hot add in the olive oil and butter. Immediately add in the chicken, skin side down. Brown for about 3 minutes, without moving the chicken. Flip the chicken and immediatly place in the 400 degree oven to roast. Chicken is done in 40-45 minutes or when a thermometer inserted in the deepest part reads 165 degrees.
Remove the chicken to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes and save the pan drippings (as is) to use in the pan gravy recipe.
pan drippings from flat roast chicken
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbl butter
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbl flour
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper
After removing the chicken to the cutting board, place the cast iron skillet with all the drippings back over a medium heat. Deglaze the pan with white wine, scraping the bottom to get all of the bits and drippings up. Add in the butter and lemon juice. Slowly whisk in the flour until no lumps remain. Season with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Let simmer at medium heat until the gravy has thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Serve over chicken and vegetables.
3 lbs (total) of the following vegetables:
potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
onions, halved or quartered
garlic cloves, peeled and whole
carrots, peeled if thick skin and kept whole
olive oil, salt, and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange all vegetables in a roasting pan or sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Roast for 40 minutes or until browned and tender.
Flat Roast Chicken adapted from Lucinda Scala Quinn's book "Mad Hungry"