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Spatchcock your chicken for Christmas

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It’s that time of the year when we eat copious amounts of Jollof Rice, Pop bottles of bubbly Champagne and eats lots of chicken-‘tis the season to be jolly! Traditionally, the chicken would be cut into little pieces and deep fried golden brown-always delicious. If you are expecting guest, or just want to do something different with your chicken or turkey this year then Spatchcocking it is the way to impress!

The biggest challenge with roasting a whole chicken is not cooking it properly; either the chicken is too dry, not cooked enough or not properly seasoned. Chicken breasts become dry and rubbery if cooked beyond 150 degrees Fahrenheit and while it is drying out, the chicken legs still need to get to 175 degrees Fahrenheit before it is considered worthy to be eaten. The best way to avoid these problems is to Spatchcock the chicken, also known as butterflying-it saves time cooking the chicken and ensures the chicken cooks thoroughly. So, how to do you Spatchcock a chicken?

STEPS TO FLAVOURFUL SPATCHCOCK CHICKEN
Take Out The Backbone
Using shears or a knife, cut the backbone (spine) vertically on both sides starting from the neck and it takes you all the way to the rear of the chicken. Do not discard the back-bone, you can always use it to make chicken broth for another meal.

Spread and Press
Flip the chicken and spread it so that it almost lays flat on its belly. Now use your hands to firmly press the breast of the chicken till you hear it crack. Alternatively, flip the chicken breast on the surface and using a knife, cut out the wishbone.

Tuck It
The wings of the chicken will be the first to cook through and burn if it isn’t tucked in. So tuck in the tips behind the top of the chicken breast, with the chicken breast skin side upwards.

Tips for preparing Chicken:
·     Make sure your hands and equipment are properly washed anytime you touch raw chicken so that you do not contaminate other meals or your environment.
·    Do not use left over marinade that dripped from rubbing the chicken and certainly not the same brush for basting the chicken.
·    Make sure the chicken is properly cooked and you can use a cooking thermometer to measure the temperature and doneness. This is to prevent food poisoning.

OVEN GRILLED SPATCHCOCKED CHICKEN RECIPE
INGREDIENTS

1 Whole Chicken
¼ Cup Vegetable Oil or Butter
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Seasoning
½ Teaspoon Cameroon Pepper
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
½ Teaspoon Ginger Powder
½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Thyme
1 Tablespoon Paprika

Here is an alternative Marinade that is just as delicious:
1 Red Onion
1 Teaspoon Cameroon Pepper
4 Tablespoons Suya Spice
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Teaspoon crushed Ginger
2 Seasoning cubes
1 Tablespoon Thyme
1 Tablespoon Curry
3 Green Chillis
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Ps. You can use any marinade you like mixing your favourites spices-get creative!

PREPARATION
·     Mix all the ingredients together to form a paste; it will be used to marinate the chicken.
·     Chicken should be Spatchocked and prepped; pat it dry with a kitchen roll so that it is not dripping of water. Alternatively, you can leave it to drain.
·    Rub the paste all over the chicken, on the inside and try to get between the skin and the flesh of the chicken, this makes your chicken really flavorful!
·     It is best to marinate the chicken overnight to really infuse the flavor, however you can completely skip this step and cook immediate-the results may not just be as flavorful as marinating for a long time.
·     Place the chicken in a heavy roasting dish or on the oven rack and Roast the chicken while basting the chicken with its juices using a long spoon so that you do not get burned.
·   Roast the chicken for 45 minutes till it is golden brown but you should use a cooking thermometer to test for accuracy. Check to see if the breast of the chicken reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit and if the chicken thigh reads 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
·   When the Chicken is ready, take it out of the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before enjoying it.

There you go, you will have delicious golden crisp skin and juicy meat Spatchcocking in lesser time than you would roast the chicken whole without Spatchcocking, plus it would look gorgeous!

Merry Christmas and Happy Spatchcocking!


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