Ready, Steady, Chook – Garlic & Thyme Chicken

I was hoping to share a recipe for an apricot and lemon thyme tarte tatin this week… with the memories evoked of Provence, rosé in the sun and the hope of a holiday in the south of France with the Clarke-Brown family. Fate had other plans…

Instead my efforts turned my kitchen into a wasteland thick with the whiff of burnt sugar… yep, I burnt one batch of caramel, used salted butter in another and when I did get it right I dropped the tatin when I tried to flip it over. In short … I’m not trying that again.

So, instead you are getting another chicken dish for the BBQ. I’m a big fan of cooking outdoors even if the weather is a bit dodgy and this recipe is real comfort food. It doesn’t give you crispy skin – think of it more of a quick cook casserole that produces a really moist chicken with a deeply rich and satisfyingly garlicky sauce with minimal effort.

Spatchcocked, dry ingredients arranged, just waiting for the stock and lemon

Music to listen to while preparing this dish: ‘I drove all night’ by Céline Dion

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium chicken
  • 2 Large onions, quartered
  • 1 Large bulb garlic cut in half horizontally
  • 1 Large bunch thyme
  • Juice and flesh of 1 lemon
  • 2 litres hot chicken stock (plus more to top up if necessary)

Method

  1. First spatchcock the chicken by putting it breast-side down, with the legs towards you.
  2. With a steady hand and your solid scissors cut up along each side of the parson’s nose – basically either side of the backbone. All that cracking and crunching you’ll feel is the rib bones breaking. Once you’r done, remove the backbone and keep it for stock.
  3. Turn the bird over and flatten it. Be prepared for some more cracking.
  4. Well done you! You’ve spatchcocked your first bird. Now put it in a BBQ-friendly roasting tin.
  5. Arrange the dry ingredients around the chicken, ensuring you get even distribution.
  6. Pour over the hot stock and add the lemon juice and flesh and seal tightly with tin foil.
  7. Once the coals are ready, place the tin on your bbq and close the lid, ensuring the air vents are open.
  8. After 1 hour remove the foil and check your liquid levels – they should be fine but if not, top up with a little stock. Foil off, close the lid of your BBQ.
  9. After a further 30mins your chicken is ready to carve and your sauce should be thick and gooey.

Serve with steamed broccoli, a generous dollop of Dijon mustard and a hearty glass of Cuvée Saint Fructueux 2016.

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