Bigger aint better – Roast Spatchcock

March 19, 2010 § 1 Comment

Roast spatchcock is on the menu for tonight purely because it was on special in the supermarket, I’d never cooked one before and I saved $3.50 So now here I am, with a petite bird and a Ben O’Donoghue recipe that had been conveniently lying on the top of my magazine recipe collection – the pile of tattered, dog eared pages that led to this blog. O’Donoghue claims that you can’t beat his flavour-packed spatchcocks, oozing taste with their fresh ricotta, herb and lemon stuffing, and I don’t doubt it as the picture looks delicious and he’s such a nice guy I hardly think he would lie. Unfortunately I have the bird but no ricotta, thyme, rosemary or lemon! Mother Hubbard indeed! But as the whole concept of cooking a spatchcock is new to me, not just his recipe, I think it qualifies for a post!

Making do with what I have, I grab a cube of pesto that I had made on one of my Tuesday ‘make pesto’ study breaks

*Pesto cube  (I make huge batches of pesto at a time and freeze in batches) with 2 bunches basil, 1/2 bunch rocket, handful roasted pinenuts/cashews or macadamias, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup avocado oil, salt, pepper and grated parmesan – I whizz it all up in the processor and then spoon the pesto into ice-cube trays to freeze. Once they’re frozen it’s as easy as keeping them the freezer for anytime I want a one person serving of pesto!


I defrosted my cube in the microwave and spread it between the skin and the breast of the bird. This bit was slightly tricky as you have to be careful not break the skin while you separate it from the flesh, but if you slide two fingers in near the neck cavity and gently wiggle them around you should be cruising! Which reminds me, my bird still had all of it’s neck attached and I was forced to half rip half cut it out – no doubt more distressing for the spatchcock than myself, and it is post-decapitation that I remember the box of kitchen gloves on top of the fridge, step three – hygiene.

Having pushed the pesto under the skin, I stuffed the cavity with 2 bay leaves, some dried thyme and 1/2 a lime, and tied the legs together with…dental floss of all things, can you believe that I still have not bought kitchen string!

I placed the spatchcock in a roasting dish with some onion and herbs and poured over half a cup of white wine – I used a semillon viognier blend from Grant Burge in the Barossa – and popped everything into my oven that had been preheating to 200. Unfortunately my oven is neither fan forced nor does it have a bottom element so the cooking times, as follows, can be hardly accurate for a more sophisticated appliance. My oven = in at 6:22pm on 220, turn down to 160 at 6:40, check at 6:55, turn up to 200, check at 7:06, juices still run red, out at 7:20, rest for 5 because veges are rearing to go!

[O’Donoghue suggests cooking at 200 for 15 minutes uncovered, and then the heat to 140 for another 20 minutes and then rest for ten minutes.]

I’ll have to play around with it next time, perhaps my oven needs a much longer time on the lower heat or maybe keep it at 200 the whole time – or maybe cook it in a reducing pot with a lid?! Either way, sitting here with my glass of white I’m satisfied but am prepared for some tweaking…and next time I think I’ll make mashed potatoes!

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§ One Response to Bigger aint better – Roast Spatchcock

  • On later discussion with my mum she suggests turning the bird upside down halfway through cooking to let the juices run back into the breast. Alternatively if the breast is cooking faster than the thighs, cover the breast meat only with some foil as you continue to roast. Thanks Ducky.

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