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Spatchcocked and Saged


While a roast chicken for dinner sounds simple and almost boring, there's nothing quite like it for homey, warm comfort on a chilly night. Or for any night, really.

The taste of this chicken is anything but boring. Unless a guest (usually my adult son or daughter) requests stuffing, I spatchcock it. It cooks more evenly, a little quicker, and more of the skin is exposed on the top - no soggy skin.

INGREDIENTS

1 small chicken - mine was about 4.5 lbs

1 bunch sage

Salt

Pepper

Onion Powder

Garlic Powder

1 stick of softened butter (I know, but you won't eat it all)

1 lb Cremini or white button mushrooms

6 shallots


METHOD

Preheat the oven to 450.

Peel the shallots but leave them whole.

With a damp cloth, clean the top of the mushrooms and remove & discard the stems.

Line the bottom of a cast iron pan with the mushrooms, cap side up, and scatter the shallots around.

Lay the sage (don't chop it - you'll want to remove it later.) on top of the mushrooms.

If you've never spatchcocked a chicken, it's so easy, you'll wonder why you hadn't. On a meat-safe cutting board, place the chicken breast side down. With a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp boning knife, remove the backbone of the chicken but cutting about an inch and a quarter to the left of center, then do the same on the right. Save the backbone in the freezer for stock.

Press the bird open - the breast bone will likely crack a bit so it lies flat. Season it with salt, pepper and the two powders. I like a lot of seasoning, but use whatever you think is best.

Lay the chicken cut side down on top of the veggies.

Spread the softened butter all over the chicken, making sure to get the legs and sides.

Season with salt, pepper and powders on the top.

Cook for 10 minutes at 450 then turn it down to 350 and cook until the internal temperature is at least 165. Mine went for another hour. (Most chickens will require 20 minutes per pound total, so use that as a guide.)

The shallots and mushrooms almost confit in the butter and pan drippings, but most of it will stay in the pan when you remove everything to serve. Sage and butter are a classic combination and flavor this really well. And should you choose to use the juices, it's nice drizzled over some rice with the chicken.

I'm always looking for a reason to open up a bottle of Rombauer Chardonnay, and it went beautifully with this dinner.


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