So first I’m going to apologize for my camera. This is a photo-heavy post and my camera is a stinker. That being said, I had so much fun making this dinner that I had to share.
I’ve been reading about spatchcocking ever since I heard it proposed as a way to do up Thanksgiving turkey. Alas, our turkey will be much too large to do this way. Anything over 12-15lbs. is unlikely to fit on a standard half sheet pan. I consoled myself by making this chicken that was chilling (hehe) in the freezer.
The core point I want to make is that this was a normal meal, not at all fancy. I think I made it on a Tuesday and it was really easy. Economical too, as I’ll prove in the next photo.
There you have it. Less than 7 bucks for an 8lb. roasting turkey. It was on a great sale so guess what? We got 2! They’ve been frozen for the past few weeks and ready for a weekday meal. As we get to the bottom of the post you’ll see how far the depths of my cheapskatery goes.
By the way, someday I would love to raise all my own chickens or buy only local happy birds. Unfortunately that is a dream for a deeper pocketed future.
Let’s start with step 1 shall we. I want to give you an idea for the steps as I went through them to show the timing and the whole scope of the meal, so I’m going to skip back and forth between chicken and gnocchi. I’m not going to worry about spelling out the recipe for the gnocchi. This was what I used.
I roasted the sweet potatoes until they were nice and soft, let them cool and then scooped out the flesh and put it through a potato ricer. If you don’t have a ricer there are other ways to skin the cat. I set them aside and started on the chicken. (And yes I do have a jar of jelly beans on the counter. Don’t you?)
With something as icky as raw chicken, it’s worth getting things ready before you start hacking away at it. All you need are a sharp knife and a pair of kitchen shears. And that bag? That’s where I stick the neck and the backbone, which we’ll be removing shortly. See, I really am that cheap. Why not get another few meals of chicken soup with a flavor-packed and free broth?
Flip the chicken over so that the breast side is down. Now cut down each side of the backbone with the shears. I even drew some fancy lines.
It should look like this gruesome murder victim.
Next, make a cut right at the breastbone where I have the handy little arrow. You should be able to splay the chicken apart now and have it lie flat.
For flavoring I used the zest of a lemon, some dried pounded rosemary, salt, and butter. Mix them all together and slather the skin with the greasy concoction. Lay the bird on a cooling rack placed on a foil lined baking sheet. I even stuck the slices of the lemon under the rack to add some steam to the underside as the chicken cooked.
Bake at 475 degrees but be careful, it takes a lot less time to roast than a roasting pan chicken. The large bird I had took about an hour. Most would probably be done in about 45 minutes.
Time to swing back to sweet potato gnocchi.
Add the egg and cheese to the sweet potatoes. Use enough flour so that it makes a dough that holds together but is still quite soft. The less flour you can get away with, the fluffier the finished product.
It should look kinda like this.
Divide the dough into 4 and then roll each piece into a log. Cut into little chunks with a knife or bench scraper. At this point most people tell you to roll them on the back of a fork or something. I was trying to cut down on work and there wasn’t a thick sauce to sop up so I didn’t bother. They still tasted just as good as the fancy looking ones.
Drop them into boiling salted water and after they float let them cook another 2-3 minutes. I finished mine in a pan with butter and sage. Make sure you let them brown and don’t fuss with them too much. That way you get the crispy bits on the bottom.
Once the chicken is 155 degrees on the breast and at least 165 on the legs, pull it out and let it rest for 10 minutes. Carve and serve with the gnocchi and maybe something green. I wish my final photo did the meal more justice. The chicken was bursting with juice with a crackling skin. The gnocchi were warm, hearty, and mildly sweet. Well worth the time and small amount of money expended.