How to Butterfly & Cook Chicken in 1 Hour or Less

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Butterflied Grilled Chicken

Butterflied Grilled Chicken

Copyright by Jacqueline Peppard, all rights reserved.

OMG!!! You can cook a butterflied chicken in the time it takes to put your groceries away?

Well, almost. Seriously though, once you master the butterfly technique, it’s effortless. Grilling or roasting a chicken this way is also known as “spatchcock” – who thought up that ridiculous word, it sounds perfectly obscene.

The meat cooks evenly and faster than other methods, and is a short cut to creating the most delicious chicken ever. The process may seem a little daunting to some (maybe your butcher will remove the spine and breastbone for you faint of heart), but honestly, it’s SO easy to do.

Learning the art of butterflied chicken is like learning a life skill, well, kind of like learning to swim. You never know when you will need it.

Family and friends will think you absolutely brilliant.

Barbecuing becomes a snap. You don’t have to mess around strategically moving each individual piece like in a chess game to ensure all is cooking perfectly. One flip of the bird and you are done – ha, take that you sad past forays into the roast chicken realms!

The end result is crispy skin, moist and juicy chicken that presents beautifully on the plate and is simply scrumptious.

Duh…you will ask yourself why you haven’t thought of this before. Throw on some veggies coated with olive oil to grill or roast along side chicken for a one pan dish.

Cheap too – Waste Not Want Not.

Purchasing a whole chicken is the most cost effective way to eat organic pasture raised meat. You will get more meals out of a whole organic chicken than a package of Tyson breasts and for less money pound per pound. A whole chicken can create at least 4 meals, if not more (think chicken enchiladas). You can freeze the backbone, breast bone, neck, gizzard and other bones for later (which will still have some meat and cartilage on them) and make nutritious chicken broth. Don’t throw away the bones as you eat the meat, but toss them in with the other parts already frozen.

Oh yeah, and with the money you save, you can buy yourself a bottle of wine – awesome!

Be Prepared – Kitchen Tools

Investing in a good pair of kitchen shears will make your life much easier and safer too, not only for this project, but for a multitude of others. If using a knife, make it a sharp (I do mean sharp) 8 inch chef knife. You will need a paring knife to release the breast bone. A large nine inch spatula is perfect for turning the butterflied chicken and fish fillets. Having the precise tools necessary for the task will keep the frustration level down and keep you happily cooking. Purchase quality, so you can keep using into perpetuity, for example, some of mine date back 40 years, yes, no kidding.

Okay, so here’s how it is done:

The recipe serves 4 but forget about leftovers. Maybe cook two, just in case you can’t stop yourself.

Ingredients:

4-5 pound chicken

Olive oil

Dried whole leaf thyme, marjoram, rosemary or sage

Garlic powder

Salt and pepper

Debone: Cutting with shears: Begin by placing chicken on its breast with backbone facing you. Start by holding tail and cut up the side of backbone (not through center but to side of backbone) working your way up to the neck. Stay as close to the backbone as you can, and exert enough pressure to cut through the rib bones. Repeat on other side and lift out backbone; open up chicken to lay flat with cavity side up.

Cutting with a knife: Begin by sitting the chicken on its butt, with backbone facing you. Starting with neck, cut down the side of the backbone and work down to tail. Stay as close to the backbone as you can, and exert enough pressure to cut through the rib bones. Repeat on other side and lift out backbone; open up chicken to lay flat with cavity side up.

To remove breast bone: Removing the breast bone will help it cook faster and more evenly. At the top of the rib cage, at bottom of where neck would attach, is a white spot composed of cartilage. With a paring knife, slice through the whitish mass down to breast bone underneath; using both hands on either side of breast bone, splay the two sides of the breast back and twist to expose the top of the breast bone. Now run your finger down the left and right sides of the breast bone to release it from flesh, and at very end of bone, use one finger to get under and pop the tip away. Breast bone should now lift out easily in a single piece.

Here is a great step by step video showing how to butterfly chicken – the best I have seen and in particular, shows you how to pop that breastbone out.

To Cook: Preheat grill to medium low (350 degrees).

Generously coat all surfaces of chicken with olive oil. Don’t get stingy here, generously rub both sides with dried thyme, marjoram, and rosemary or sage leaves (optional), garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Re-apply if necessary to thoroughly cover with herbs. Rotate legs in for a knock-kneed look. Fold chicken wing tips behind back.

Place chicken cavity or bone side down on heated grill. Close lid and cook 25 to 30 minutes (depends upon weight). Flip chicken over and cook another 25 to 30 minutes. For perfect timing, use a meat thermometer inserted into meat of thigh, but do not touch bone; cook until it registers 170 degrees.

Let rest 20 minutes before cutting. Chicken will keep cooking as it cools, and the juices will remain in the meat.

To Roast: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place on a broiler pan lined with aluminum foil bone side down, skin up, and cook for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 375 thereafter. Cook for 30 minutes additional time for a 4 pounder and up to an hour for a 5 pounder. Let rest 20 minutes before carving. If you have a meat thermometer, breast should register 150 degrees or leg 170 degrees before removing from oven.

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Carbonnade – Beef, Bacon, Beer & Onions

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Beef Carbonnade

Beef Carbonnade

Copyright by Jacqueline Peppard, all rights reserved.

A country Flemish woman deftly moves about her 17th century kitchen with hair tied up in a white woolen cap and blue muslin apron on. Braids of garlic, onions, and herbs are suspended from the rough hewn ceiling beams. Rays of late morning sun gently stream through a window and bounce against the white plaster walls, filling her eyes with golden reflections. Life is good this year. It is winter, but the bountiful summer harvest lines the cellar shelves with ceramic bottles of dark brown ale, sides of smoked pork, and baskets of root vegetables. She creates a stew for the mid-day meal, a recipe containing beef, bacon, onions, beer, dried herbs, and root vegetables – Beef Carbonnade. A savory aroma soon wafts throughout the house warming the heart and beckoning one to the table.

Spring is almost here, but most can’t even begin a garden of hardy greens yet. In countries still receiving snow, a Paleolithic hunter and gatherer’s food supply would be restricted to whatever wild game he could kill. Much of the ground would still be frozen, and any plant food like greens and root vegetables just wouldn’t be on the menu yet. A denizen of the 17th century would be running low on veggies and would be limited to properly stored root and tuber vegetables that mice or rats hadn’t raided. Any wild game would be stretched with pork raised and cured from the prior summer. Our early ancestors available winter food supplies gave birth to the dish also known as Carbonnade Flamande.

The gourmet name disguises the humble nature of the dish, a sweet-sour beef stew largely comprised of onions. Unlike Beef Bourguignon made with wine, it is distinguished by the rich earthy flavor of dark ale contrasted against onions and herbs. My interpretation calls for 4 different members of the allium family, each adding its own individual flavor to the mix, balsamic instead of apple cider vinegar, and LOTS of bacon. Root vegetables are typically boiled and served on the side. Continue reading

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Holiday Gift Idea – Cranberry Orange Sauce

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Holiday Cranberry Sauce

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Copyright 2015 by Jacqueline Peppard, all rights reserved.

Cranberries make a great winter sauce for meats and cheeses. Heated and served over warm Brie, oh yum! Mix with other fruits and reduce the sugar content by 75%. Fuji’s, McIntosh, and Gala are the apples to choose for obtaining the most sweetness. If you are lucky enough to have access to ripe sweet Fuyu persimmons, all the better, I use apples and persimmons interchangeably with this sauce. Oranges or mandarins also help out with sweetness plus add great flavor to the sour cranberries. Make up a batch for Thanksgiving and freeze/can the rest for Christmas or to use throughout winter. If you have a big enough pot, double or triple the recipe and can for Christmas gifts. Canning instructions provided at the end. Continue reading

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Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Soup – Free Recipe

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Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Soup

Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Soup

Copyright 2013 by Jacqueline Peppard, all rights reserved

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8 servings

Right around Halloween, I stock up on small sized pumpkins and sugar pumpkins, the ones perfect for making soup and pie. I gradually bake up all of them and freeze for future use over the holidays and throughout the winter. Mashing and freezing them in 2 cup increments offers flexibility to make most pie, pudding, or soup recipes. You may use steamed or canned pumpkin, but it doesn’t have any where near the flavor of oven roasted pumpkin. Butternut squash is available all winter and a great stand in for pumpkin. Rule is for every cup pureed squash, add 1 cup broth. Continue reading

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