Spatchcock Roasted Chicken with Garlic Confit and Preserved Lemon

Chicken seems to be everyone’s “go-to” protein these days, and while I love the bird just as much as the next person, let’s face it…chicken can be BORING! You know what I’m talking about..overcooked, dry, flavorless–the list goes on. Well, let me tell you, this dish absolutely ROCKS in the flavor department, and the cooking technique produces a bird so moist and tender it practically melts in your mouth! I was amazed!
I’m sure you’re thinking by now, hmmm….spatchcock, confit, preserved lemons…not for me. Hold on–don’t let those words scare you off. Granted, they may not be in your everyday arsenal of kitchen jargon, but fear not! I’m hear to break it down for you, and make it simple.
Spatchcock-this is nothing more than splitting, then flattening a whole bird. You do this by cutting out the backbone (not hard at all with a good pair of poultry shears or serrated knife), then pressing the bird down flat giving it much more surface contact. In our case, that contact is going to be with a scorching hot cast iron skillet…think “very crispy, beautiful” skin! One more advantage to this technique is that it cooks quicker! Fast AND crispy! Win, Win!! Click HERE for a step by step “how-to” on spatchcocking.
Confít-don’t you just love all this learning? What IS confit, you ask? It’s french, and it generally refers to meat that’s been cooked and preserved in it’s own fat. Here, however, instead of meat we have garlic, and the fat of choice is olive oil. Quite simply, the garlic cloves are s..l..o..w..l..y simmered in the olive oil for about 30 minutes or so resulting in tender sweet cloves that just melt in your mouth. The added bonus is that you’re also left with a beautifully infused oil that is both fragrant and delicious!
Preserved Lemons-I can’t say enough about these!! I have jars and jars in my fridge! They are cut lemons rubbed with salt, then packed in a jar with more salt & lemon juice. They sit at room temperature for about a month and pure magic happens. In the end, the peeling has this incredibly intense lemon flavor with no bitterness whatsoever. Click HERE for how to preserve your own lemons and a few options for how to use them once you have! You can also buy them…higher-end grocery stores will carry them, World Market has them for $5.99 a jar or you can get the same jar on Amazon Prime for $10.99. It pays to price compare!
Now, on to the recipe!
Spatchcock Roasted Chicken with Garlic Confit and Preserved Lemon

Spatchcock Roasted Chicken with Garlic Confit and Preserved Lemon

Spatchcock Roasted Chicken with Garlic Confit and Preserved Lemon

adapted from Bon Appétit

Ingredients:

  • 20 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 whole organic chicken, spatchcocked (backbone removed and bird flattened-see above for instructions)
  • kosher salt & pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 preserved lemons, flesh removed, peel finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup whole cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup mixed tender herbs, chopped (such as parsley, chives, etc.)

Preparation:

Garlic Confit

Heat garlic and oil in small saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles appear around garlic.  Reduce heat and simmer “gently”, stirring occasionally until garlic is light golden brown 10-15 minutes, being careful not to burn.  Let cool in pan.

Chicken

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place a cast-iron skillet on rack and heat oven to 500°.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels, rub with the garlic infused olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  When oven reaches 500°, remove skillet from oven, place chicken breast side down and immediately reduce oven to 450°.  Roast until well browned, about 30 minutes.

With heavy oven mitts, remove skillet from oven, and gently flip chicken breast side up. Add cherry tomatoes, brush chicken and tomatoes with more of the garlic infused olive oil and return skillet to oven for about another 10 minutes or until breast registers 160° and tomatoes start to pop. Transfer chicken to cutting board, cover with foil and let rest 10-15 minutes.  Place tomatoes in small separate bowl until sauce is ready.

Add broth to skillet and bring to boil over medium high heat, scraping up browned bits and cooking until reduced by about two thirds.  Add butter, one piece at a time whisking constantly until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, reserved cherry tomatoes, preserved lemon, half of the herbs and all the cooked garlic cloves.  Taste and season with salt & pepper.

To serve, carve chicken into pieces and spoon sauce over the top, sprinkling remaining herbs on top.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • Any oil left from the garlic confit is delicious in salad dressings or drizzled over roasted potatoes

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