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Friday, April 8, 2011

Spatchcocked Chicken with Saffron Cornbread Stuffing

Quit giggling, it's a real word.  It basically means butterflying, but isn't "spatchcocking" so much more fun?   Chickens prepared this way cook faster and take up less freezer space so it's really a useful technique, whatever you call it.

You can do plain ol' cornbread stuffing if you want, especially if you're working with a boxed mix or store-bought cornbread to save time, but this is a superb cornbread recipe, if I do say so myself.  If you use a mix, do two boxes of a Jiffy-type mix or use 1 8"-9" pan of store-bought cornbread.

Spatchcocked Chicken
Serves 6

1 4 lb. roaster
olive oil, salt and pepper

Backbone out
 Start by cutting up both sides of the backbone with kitchen shears. 

Keel bone out
 Push the sides of the chicken out to flatten it slightly (skin side down).  Use the tip of a small knife to cut away the keel bone located between the chicken breasts (yeah, yeah, chicken cleavage).  Once you've started to cut it out, it's easier to grab it and pull it out by hand.

Vacusealed stuffing and chicken,
ready for bagging
 Turn the chicken skin side up.  Fold the wing tips to the back of the chicken, like it's sunbathing.  Press the leg quarters flat so that it looks knock-kneed.  Rub both sides of the bird with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Slide CAREFULLY into as wide a bag as you have (a gallon zip-top or an 11" vacuseal bag will both work, but they'll be tight) and freeze with stuffing below.

To cook, thaw the kit thoroughly.  Put the stuffing in the bottom of a 13x9 pan and put the spatchcocked chicken on top of it, skin side up.  Roast 45-60 minutes at 350F.

Saffron Cornbread
Makes 1 9x9 pan

1 cup milk
1 large pinch saffron
1 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup melted butter

Crumble saffron into milk and let stand 5 minutes.  Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Whisk wet ingredients together and pour into dry.  Mix just until combined.  Pour into a greased 9x9 pan and bake 25 minutes at 400F. 

Cornbread Stuffing
Makes a lot of stuffing

1/4 cup butter
2 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium)
2 cups chopped celery (about 8 ribs)
1 recipe Saffron cornbread
1 cup chicken stock, vermouth or white wine
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onions and celery in butter over medium-low heat until soft, about 8-10 minutes.  Break up the cornbread and mix in sauteed vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper and stir in liquid until stuffing is moistened.  Put in a large vacuseal bag and freeze with spatchcocked chicken.  Pin It

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