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Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner January 20, 2012

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, random stuff.


Did you ever see a recipe and think “that’s almost perfect”?

Like it just needs to be a little bit . . . not exactly but close?

So yeah.  I get several emails a week with various recipes – some of them, honestly, I don’t know who they are or why they send them.  I must have signed up for something, sometime.  I guess.  But others – well, I know exactly why I get them – like the Fine Cooking weekly e-newsletter.

First, let me say that I don’t subscribe to Fine Cooking, and no, I’m not quite sure why not.  However, once the Bon Appetit subscription expires . . .


And so it was that one day a couple of months ago, I opened my email and saw a recipe for Burnished Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes & Parsnips.

I definitely like sweet potatoes – and parsnips! – but I’m not such a fan of chicken thighs.  I’ll eat them, if it’s unavoidable, but they’ve got to be boneless.  If I’m going to eat chicken on the bone, it’s got to be white meat, otherwise, I just . . . can’t.

I know, weird.

So I saw this recipe, and I thought to myself that there was no reason it couldn’t work just as well with a spatchcocked chicken.

A whole chicken.

PhotobucketOne with its breasts intact.


I’ll admit – I feel kinda strange talking about “breasts” and “spatchcock.”  Like I’m in a middle school boys’ locker room.  So from here on out, it’ll be “butterflied,” rather than “spatchcocked.”  Thank you.

So you basically know how to do this butterflying thing, right?  It’s been all over the Internet for a few years now.   I do it in the sink so any chicken slime is fairly confined.


You take a pair of kitchen scissors and CUT up the back of the bird along each side of the spine (the backbone goes in your stock-stash in the freezer, right?), then flip it over onto what’s left of its back and press REALLY REALLY hard on the breastbone until you hear it crack.

Barbaric, no?

So you take the now-flat lying chicken, and the funky-looking marinade (balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and mustard) and stash it in the fridge for a few hours.

I suspect, if I wanted to, I could freeze the bird right in the marinade, then defrost and cook.  I just may try that next time I buy a whole chicken.

PhotobucketWhile I had plenty of parsnips in the fridge, and a couple of shallots in the onion-and-garlic basket, what I didn’t have was any more sweet potatoes.

Can you believe we used ALL those sweet potatoes  that I bought at Thanksgiving?  What was it?  20 pounds?  Yeah, I can’t believe it either.

What I did have was a giant butternut squash.

Eh, close enough.  They’re both orange.  So we cut the parsnips and the butternut squash into (about) 1/2-inch cubes, salt and peppered them, and spread them right on the same pan with the chicken.


I was a little concerned about the lack of lubrication in the veggies, so I tossed them with about a teaspoon of oil.  I may or may not do that again – the chicken gave off enough fat to keep everything from sticking.

And speaking of the chicken.

About halfway through the cooking time (which, in total, was just an hour), the recipe directed me to “baste the chicken with the pan juices) – I guess that’s where the “burnished” part comes from, huh?  That fat from the pan, brushed back onto the skin, just browned and made for a deep, almost mahogany, color.


All in all, this was a delightful chicken.  It was, truly, a roasted chicken, with everything that goes along with it – the crisp skin, the moist meat and melting tenderness, and, of course, the warm, comfort-food vegetables.  The full-of-flavor marinade – mustard and balsamic vinegar – was just enough to nudge this otherwise very traditional dish just over into “wow” territory.  And the best part (well, maybe not the BEST part, but a pretty good thing, all the same) is that there was just enough left over for a couple of sandwiches for the next day’s lunch.  What more could you ask for?

Printable version RIGHT HERE.



1. Kimberly - January 20, 2012

Mmmmm…. looks yummy…. I think after reading it that it almost sounds perfect, too! I will try to make that next time I pick up a whole chicken.

It was so good! And I think chicken just tastes better roasted whole anyway. I always try to pick up one or two whole chickens when they’re on sale, and this is why! The only problem is that, when they’re frozen, I really have to plan ahead. Which, I guess isn’t really such a problem, is it? 😉

2. judy - January 20, 2012

Oh that looks like such a delicious meal. I am totally unfamiliar with dealing with a whole chicken like this. Learn something new EVERY day. Thanks. 🙂

Judy, dealing with it is somewhere between a whole chicken (whole chicken just tastes different than pieces, doesn’t it?) and pieces – it cooks faster than the whole bird, and all the skin is on top. I like to use the smaller fryers – they’re only 2 or 3 pounds, and we don’t end up either eating too much or having a ton of leftovers. 😀

3. Monday Musings: 01.23.2011 Edition « Dark Side of the Fridge - January 23, 2012

[…] year, when I roast a chicken or when I bone fresh chicken, I stash the bones in the freezer.  Then, once the weather gets cold […]

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