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Butterflied Chicken

I am not a huge fan of eating meat off of bones. It makes eating animals all the more real, and was one of the reasons I was vegetarian for a few years. But I want to go to France eventually, and they eat a lot of meat and butter, and to fully enjoy this, I needed to drop the vegetarian thing. (Plus, I went to college and it was a lot easier to eat chicken. Also I like chicken burritos).

Anyway, I picked up Julia Child’s The Way To Cook this morning and read about butterflying a chicken. I decided to get over my fear of animals and bones and go for it. When Julia says “remove the back bone” she should have said “de-spine the chicken.” Yup. I de-spined an animal. It was horrifying and disgusting (we have a video to post, after we edit out some of the squeals of the process).

Anyway, here’s what you need –

  • 3 – 4 pound chicken, whole with innards removed
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, melted
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the broiler.

How to Butterfly a Chicken: With heavy shears or a cleaver, cut down close to the backbone on each side, and remove the bone. Spread the chicken open, skin side up, and pound on the breast with your fist to flatten the chicken. Cut off and discard the little nubbins at the wing elbows, and fold the wings akimbo. To hold the legs in place, make ½-inch slits in the skin on each side of the lower breast and tuck the drumstick ends through the slits (The Way to Cook).

After you’ve butterflied your chicken, combine the butter and oil together. Using a pastry brush, baste the chicken (skin side). Conserve about half of the butter mixture. Place the chicken skin side down in a baking dish and place into broiler for five minutes. Remove, and baste flesh side with remaining butter. Place back in the broiler for 5 minutes, remove, baste with the juice in the pan and replace for another 5 minutes.


After this 15 minutes of removing and basting, remove again, flip the chicken so it’s skin side up and baste the skin side. Place into broiler for 15 – 20 minutes until skin is crispy and meat is firm to the touch.

I served mine with steam broccoli and roasted root vegetables (hint – roast these while your chicken is roasting!).

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