Pavlova wasn’t the only experiment on L’s birthday. Don’t know why I keep on trying new things on special occasions, but I thought I’d try to butterfly a chicken. It was surprisingly easy actually, and delicious. Just took my kitchen scissors and snipped down either side of the backbone to remove it. Put the chicken on the chopping board skin-side-up and pressed down hard. Snipped off the wing tips, rinsed the bird in cold water, and patted it dry. Then, slit the skin on either side close to the tail end and popped the end of each drumstick through the opposite slit. The butterflied chicken then formed a neat little package, very pleasing on the eye. And now ready for the oven. Rubbed it all over with a mix of olive oil, fresh chopped rosemary from the garden, salt & pepper. Dabbed the bird with butter, and put it in an oven preheated to 200 C, in a pan with a ½ cup of white wine and water in the bottom (I think for this you want a pan that’s not way too big for the bird, otherwise it reduces too much and if you make a sauce at the end, as I did, it has a taste of burnt butter), under a loose foil tent. Start basting after 30 minutes, and do so every 15 minutes from that point. Probably twice more, maybe three … with a size 14 chicken it took about an hour & 10 minutes. The foil tent should stay on till the end … the bird browns nicely under it. But if it’s not browning I guess you can always remove earlier.
While the chicken’s resting, pour off any excess fat from the pan, then add some wine and simmer for a few minutes. Add a teaspoon of butter and when that’s melted through, strain into a sauce jug.
Anyway, served with boiled new potatoes and sweet corn from the market (so tender & sweet, just picked that morning I’d guess) and a green salad this made a very satisfactory birthday dinner for two. Especially with pavlova for pud to follow!