Fennel, Date and Lemon Spatchcock Chicken

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I did it! I spatchcocked a chicken. I’ve cooked a spatchcock chicken once before, but today was the first time I actually took a whole chicken and spatchcocked it myself. It wasn’t hard at all. You just need a sharp pair of kitchen shears. Mine are by the Pioneer Woman. I have a couple of her knives, as well as her kitchen shears. They are not expensive at all and they stay sharp. I buy them at Walmart. Her Nakiri Knife is my favorite, I’ve recommended it for several people because it is the one I go to most often.

To spatchcock a chicken, you cut out the backbone. If you google this, you will find excellent instructions that are really easy to follow. I used my kitchen shears to cut on both sides of the backbone out of the chicken.

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Once the backbone was out, I turned the chicken over and pressed down to break the wishbone and make sure my chicken was flat.

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I sprinkled the underside of the chicken with kosher salt and pepper and turned it over. Once it was turned over, as you see in the above picture, I patted the chicken dry with a paper towel. Next, I drizzled olive oil over the skin and rubbed it all over, before sprinkling the skin with kosher salt and pepper.

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I then minced the leaves of four stems of fresh rosemary and removed the leaves from four sprigs of fresh thyme and sprinkled it over the chicken.

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I let my chicken sit for a minute while I sliced and sautéd one onion and two bulbs of fennel in olive oil, salt and pepper. While the onion and fennel were sautéing, I removed the pits from 16 ounces of dates and sliced three lemons. When I felt the onion and fennel were softened and starting to caramelize, I poured a half cup of white wine (I chose Pinot Grigio) into the cast iron skillet and then added the dates and lemons. Oh my gosh, the wine smelled so good when it hit the heat, wow!

Next, I placed my chicken on top of the vegetables and fruits and placed it in a preheated 450 degree oven for an hour. Depending on the size of your chicken, this could take just 45 minutes. I had a pretty good size chicken, however, so mine took a little longer. You want to make sure the dark meat reaches 165 degrees. That’s when you know your chicken is done. The great thing about spatchcocking your chicken vs. cooking it whole, is that it cooks much faster.

I have to say that the sweetness of the dates provided a great flavoring for the “sauce”. I was very pleased with how much flavor there was in this dish. I’m totally patting myself on the back on this one … can you tell?

I served the chicken over the fennel, onion and dates, and spooned some of the juices over my chicken. Nothing but a piece of crusty bread was needed to complete this meal. I sopped up my bread with the juices from the sauce, no butter needed for that bread!

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Oh wow! Please try this recipe, I promise you will love it! I would definitely make this for my Dinner Club, it was that good.

Ingredients

1 whole chicken, spatchcocked

1 medium onion, sliced in half rounds

2 fennel bulbs, sliced

16 ounces fresh dates, pits removed

3 lemons, sliced thin

1/2 cup white wine

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus a drizzle

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling on the chicken

1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more for sprinkling on the chicken

4 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed from stems and minced

4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed (no need to mince)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle under side of spatchcocked chicken with salt and pepper and turn over. Pat chicken skin dry with paper towel and rub with a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over skin. Add rosemary and thyme to chicken and set aside.
  3. Remove pits from dates and slice lemons. Set aside.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in cast iron skillet. Add onions and fennel and cook until they start to caramelize.
  5. Add wine to skillet. Next add dates and lemon slices.
  6. Place chicken on top of vegetables and fruit, sticking a few lemon slices on top of chicken.
  7. Place in oven for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken. Start checking the temperature of the meat after 45 minutes.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

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