Spatchcock Lavender-Lemon-Thyme Chicken
Updated: Apr 2
All the pleasures of a fragrant roast chicken in half the time!
A butterflied—or spatchcock—chicken might seem daunting at first but it really is much more accessible than you think. Your butcher can cut the backbone out for you if you don't feel like tackling the whole bird yourself. If you do feel like giving it a try, simply cutting out the backbone on either side of the thighs up through the neck with kitchen scissors or chicken shears will do the trick. The following recipe works with any flavor combination tucked under the chicken skin, from garlic and rosemary to mushroom duxelles and truffle salt.
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; paring; measuring spoons; wet measuring cup; large cast-iron skillet; tongs; meat thermometer
1, 4-pound free-range chicken, butterflied (backbone removed)
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons thyme
1 tablespoon lavender
zest of one lemon,
1 teaspoon koshersalt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12 small (or 6 large) shallots, peeled and whole
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
extra olive oil for drizzling
juice from half the zested lemon to finish
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Rinse chicken with cold water; drain, then pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
2. Combine the olive oil, thyme, lavender, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Loosen skin from chicken over breasts and thighs; tuck the spice mixture under the skin of each breast and thigh. Season chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
3. Over medium-high heat, heat a cast-iron skillet. Place chicken skin-side down in the skillet with leg portion closest to the handle. Add the shallots all around the chicken. Cook until skin is lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Turn chicken, breast-side up, being careful not to tear the skin. Place the pan in the oven.
ILOC tip: the best way to turn the chicken, frankly, is the grab the tips of the legs, one with each hand, pinch with a very tight grip, and swiftly flip the bird. A confident and swift flip will get the job done far better than a skeptical, slow turn. It's all about technique, not torture!
4. Pan-roast the chicken for 35-40 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (without touching the bone) reads 175° to 180° and juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife. Let the chicken stand 10 minutes before carving. Sprinkle lemon juice from the zested lemon into the pan and scrape the bottom to make a quick jus. Serve with caramelized shallots and drizzle with the pan juices.
Makes 4 servings.