As Beyoncé Etta James once sang, At Last. At long last, I can use the word spatchcock.
Spatchcocking the chicken cuts down on the cooking time, and offers linguistic joy! An old friend of mine used to make compilations of ska punk cover versions, called Spatchcock (vol.1, 2 etc.). I hope that this meal lives up to the genius that is I Fell Asleep on My Arm by the Aquabats.
The chicken is simple but full of flavour. Using the pan juices to cook the cous cous adds all the colour and flavour you could hope for. The simplicity if these parts allows you to have some fun with corn on the cob, rather than just contenting yourself with slathering butter on it.
I first had corn like this from Eat Drink Love Taco in St Kilda, Australia. On the off chance you’re near there, please get a steak and chorizo burrito and tell me how it was. If I could get it shipped 10000 miles to me, I would. Tex Mex heaven.
This recipe uses elements of a Jamie Oliver recipe for the corn, and a hybrid of my mother in law’s crispy chicken quarters, and Nigel Slater’s roast chicken recipe from the Guardian- I rate both cooks equally.
- Medium size chicken
- A lemon
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Fresh thyme
- 200g Cous cous
- A large mug of chicken stock
Corn on the Cob
- 4 Cobs of corn
- 30g butter
- 80g pecorino or any hard unpasteurised cheese, grated
First, spatchcock your chicken. Turn the chicken upside down, and using a very sharp boning knife, cut from end to end through the breast bone. Pull it out flat, and place on a wire rack in a roasting tray.
In a small bowl, mix your olive oil and the juice from the whole lemon. Add salt and pepper, and the leaves from about 4 sprigs of thyme to this. Spoon this onto the spatchcocked chicken, rubbing it deep into every crevice. Throw the used lemon chunks into the pan, and lay another bunch of thyme sprigs on the chicken and around the pan.
Put the spatchcocked chicken in a preheated oven at around 200c. It should take around 45 minutes, but it’s likely best to judge it by whether the skin is suitably crispy, and whether the juices run clear.
This leaves you with a nice spare half hour. My recommendation, if you haven’t seen it yet would be to get on Netflix, and watch the first season of Damages. Glenn Close is incredible in it.
Anyway, a half hour gone, boil the sweetcorn for about 15 minutes, then drain it, and allow it to steam dry. Melt the butter in a microwave on a plate, and put the grated cheese on a separate plate. Roll each cob in the butter, then sprinkle a little paprika on, before rolling in the cheese, pressing down hard to make it stick.
Remove the spatchcocked chicken from the oven, and transfer to a plate, covering it in tinfoil to rest. Switch the oven to grill, and put the corn on the cobs under, close enough to burn ever so slightly. You’ll need to monitor and turn this as you do the last bits.
Remove the rack, lemon, and thyme from the roasting tin, and stick this on a hob at a medium heat. Pour in the mug full of stock, and bring to the boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to mix in all the lovely juices. Switch the hob off and add the cous cous in an even layer, then cover with the tin foil from the chicken while you carve.
Put the chicken and corn on a plate, then remove the tin foil from the cous cous, which should have soaked up all the liquid. Mix in a handful or two of rocket leaves and mix it all up, separating all the grains.
Add to your plate and enjoy.