What I like most about making this butterflied chicken from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, the project at Cook the Book Fridays this week, is the ease of serving it. He calls it chicken lady chicken. The recipe can be found here.
I chose a small organic chicken of about 2 1/2 lb, got even smaller after removing the back bone and cooking the bird. It yielded two servings. Three may be a stretch, especially if this was the only main course. I served it with a romaine salad for a weekday dinner.
Cutting up a small and flattened bird is as easy as carving a piece of steak once the backbone has been removed. Cooking and serving a chicken whole has a lot of appeal: it’s economical, flavorful and wholesome. (The backbone and the innards went into the stockpot to make the chicken stock.) Besides it looks great on the plate. The smell wafting through the kitchen evoked the comfort of home and hearth when the chicken was cooking.
Considered the price and convenience of picking up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery or big-box store, like Costco, you wonder why you’d bother to make one at home. But if you have the time and inclination to cook your own, one bite of this chicken would convince you that its taste and flavor is a world away from anything that comes from a plastic container. This chicken dish didn’t feel like an everyday meal. It’s almost company worthy, as long as you can convince your guests that having chicken at your house is a treat! Leave it to the chicken, it can be very persuasive with all the talking points. It was moist but not briny, muscular but not tough, and the flavor was deep that it didn’t need help from salt or pepper. Even the white meat tasted as good as the dark meat. That’s the ultimate proof of its worthiness to have a place on your dinner table.
- Get a small organic chicken weighting less than 3 lb. (The smaller bird provides the right amount of skin to meat ratio that keeps the skin crispy and the meat tender and moist. The longer the chickens spend their time pecking and strutting around outside before they see the inside of the slaughter house, the better they taste.) Remove the backbone and press the chicken down to spread it out until it lies flat.
- Marinate the chicken with a mixture of garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon juice, white wine, soy sauce, harissa, Dijon mustard and honey. Loosen the skin from the breast and thigh meat, and add the marinade under the skin. Let it rest in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.
- Twice cook method: sear both sides of the chicken over medium-high heat in a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop. Look for a light brown color, never mind the clock. Transfer it, skin side up, to a 400°F oven to finish cooking. The chicken is ready when the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 152°F.