Ruth Pretty's Butterflied chicken recipe

I have only recently discovered butterflied chicken. It is so useful because a butterflied chicken takes around half the time to roast as a whole bird and as it is roasted flat all areas become golden brown. Simply cut or chop into four to six portions to serve.

The tasty recipe I use, below, is from Ruth Pretty's excellent new book, Ruth Pretty Cooks at Home.

Butterflied Corn-fed Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon

Serves 4–6
1 x 1.5kg whole corn-fed chicken (rinsed under cold water and patted dry with paper towels)
1 tbsp Roasted Garlic
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
10 Caramelised Lemon Slices (recipe follows)
30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
½ tsp flaky sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

To butterfly chicken, place chicken, breast-side down, on a clean board and use poultry shears or kitchen scissors to cut all the way along one side of the backbone, as close to the bone as possible. Open chicken out so it resembles a butterfly shape and place on a flat surface, skin-side up. With the heel of your hand, press firmly on the breastbone until it breaks along with the collarbones, ribcage and wishbone. Cut off wing tips at the first joint. Remove backbone by cutting out with poultry shears or kitchen scissors.

Starting from the neck end and working on one breast at a time, loosen skin by sliding your fingers between the skin and flesh. Work slowly and gently towards the leg. Leave skin attached only at the tip of the drumstick.

Place Roasted Garlic and rosemary in a small bowl and mix with a fork to a paste. Using your fingers, rub paste between chicken flesh and skin. Insert 3 Caramelised Lemon Slices under skin of each breast and another 2 down each leg. Rub outside of chicken with half of the olive oil and refrigerate for up to 1 day or proceed to cook.

Preheat oven to 210oC.

Lightly grease a low-sided roasting tray with remaining oil. Place chicken skin-side up on tray and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30–40 minutes or until juices run clear when pierced with tip of a knife. Remove chicken from oven, cover tray with aluminium foil and leave to rest for 10–15 minutes away from the heat. Cut or chop into 4–6 portions and serve.

Caramelised Lemon Slices
Makes 16–20 slices
15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil
2 lemons (cut into 5mm-thick slices, preferably on a mandoline)

Place oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add lemon slices without crowding the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes until dark golden. Turn over and cook the second side. Remove and cool.

Reproduced with permission from Ruth Pretty Cooks at Home by Ruth Pretty.
Published by Penguin Group NZ. RRP $65.00.
Copyright © text, Ruth Pretty, 2012. Copyright © photographs, Murray Lloyd, 2012