‘Roasted’ Spatchcock

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in


By Brent Savage

Published 2010

  • About


  • 6 spatchcocks (baby chickens), butterflied
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated and sliced
  • ½ bunch (10 g/ oz) thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • olive oil, to cover
  • 40 g ( oz) Dijon mustard
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 1 quantity glaze
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 100 g ( oz/ cup) fine polenta


Working with one spatchcock at a time, lay one, skin-side up, on a work surface with the legs closest to you. Take the inside of the top of a leg and gently pull towards you to remove it, taking care to leave the leg skin attached to the body. Repeat with the other leg. Set aside.

Remove the bones from the underside of the breasts but do not separate the pair of fillets. Refrigerate until needed.

Using a sharp knife, remove the leg meat from the bones. Scatter over 6 g ( oz) salt, garlic, thyme and bay leaves and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/Gas 2). Rinse the salt off the spatchcock legs and pat dry with paper towel. Place in a roasting tray, cover with the olive oil and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the oil. Pick the meat off the bones. Season with mustard, salt and pepper. Press the meat into a 15 × 10 cm (6 × 4 inch) plastic container and refrigerate until chilled.

Meanwhile, working with a pair of spatchcock breasts at a time, place a pair, skin-side down, on a work surface, and season with salt and pepper. Form the breast into a ball and tie off using kitchen string. Place a square of plastic wrap on a work surface, brush with the glaze and place the ball in the centre. Take all 4 corners of the plastic wrap and twist together to form a tight ball. Tie off tightly to secure. Heat a saucepan of water to 68°C (154°F). Poach the balls for 30 minutes. Scoop out and remove the plastic wrap. Set aside.

When ready to serve, heat the vegetable oil in a large deep saucepan or deep-fryer to 170°C (325°F). Turn the leg meat out onto a chopping board and cut into 6 equal rectangles. Dip in the beaten egg, then roll in the polenta to coat well and deep-fry for 2 minutes or until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel. Deep-fry the breast meat balls for 1½ minutes or until golden. Remove and drain on paper towel. Serve the leg meat and breast balls immediately.