June 20, 2011

Butterflied Roast Chicken and Potatoes

I've been making this roast chicken for several years and love it every once in a while, but lately I prefer this simple roasted chicken. But if you want something with more character, try this recipe, as you can add herb-flavored butter for varying flavors.

In this recipe, the butterfly method allows the chicken to cook faster than if left whole. Using a broiler pan, the chicken sits on top with potatoes in the bottom, so the fat and juices from the chicken drip down and flavor the potatoes, which is sinfully good.

Butterflied Roast Chicken with Potatoes
adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1 c. kosher salt OR 1/2 c. table salt, for brine
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 whole chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 lbs, giblets removed, fat around cavity removed
2 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes (4 to 5 medium) or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick
Vegetable cooking spray
3 Tbsp. butter or flavored butter - see note
1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
¾ tsp. table salt
ground black pepper

Dissolve salt and sugar in 2 qts. Cold water in large container. Immerse chicken and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Line bottom of broiler pan with foil and spray with nonstick vegetable cooking spray.

Remove chicken from brine and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Cut through bones on either side of backbone, then remove and discard backbone. Flip chicken over and use the heel of your hand to flatten breastbone. Slip your fingers between skin and breast, loosening the membrane. Scoop some of the butter onto a spoon, slide it under breast skin, and push off with your fingers. Work butter under skin to cover breast evenly. Work remaining butter under skin on each drumstick and thigh. Transfer to a broiling rack and push legs up to rest between thighs and breast. Thoroughly pat chicken dry with paper towels.

Toss potatoes with 1 Tbsp. oil, salt, and pepper to taste in medium bowl. Spread potatoes in even layer in foil-lined broiler pan bottom. Place broiler pan rack with chicken on top. Rub chicken with remaining 1 1/2 tsp. oil and sprinkle with pepper.

Roast chicken until spotty brown, about 20 minutes. Rotate pan and continue to roast until skin has crisped and turned a deep brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 160° in thickest part of breast, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to cutting board. With potholders, remove broiler pan rack; soak up excess grease from potatoes with several sheets of paper towels. Remove foil liner with potatoes from broiler pan bottom and invert foil and potatoes onto cookie sheet or second cutting board. Carefully peel back foil, using a metal spatula to help scrape potatoes off foil as needed. With additional paper towels, pat off remaining grease. Cut chicken into serving pieces and serve with potatoes.

Note: To make flavored butter, soften butter and add desired seasonings - dried or fresh herbs. Mix to combine.

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