Friday 19th January 2018
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Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour

1 large free range chicken
150g butter – softened
A sprig of fresh rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh lemon thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 carrot cut into batons
1 onion – cut into small wedges
2 sticks of celery – cut into chunks
6 chestnut mushrooms – quartered
4 cloves of garlic – unpeeled
A handful of new potatoes

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Recipe by Dominic Franks, Belleau Kitchen

As regular readers will know, I love my slow-cooked food but I realise that this long, relaxed way of cooking doesn’t work for all of us all the time…

Sometimes we need a quick solution for a mid-week meal that’s just as fabulous and I think I’ve cracked it with this butterfly chicken. 

The butterflying technique is as simple as picking up a pair of scissors and cutting out the backbone. It also means the cooking time is considerably reduced. But if you’re squeamish you can ask your butcher to do it for you. 

Then, with just a few added vegetables and bit of butter, you’ll have an all-in-one meal that is fast, super tasty and will impress those who may need impressing – beyond any doubt. You might even think about this for a ‘stay at home Valentine’s’ meal.

I won’t lie, butterflying a chicken is a little gruesome – for about 7 seconds, and then it’s over and you have something very pretty to serve up. And it can be done in three easy steps:

1. Turn the chicken over on to its breast then take your index finger and third finger and run them back and forth along the backbone, just so you know where it is and get an understanding of its shape.

2. Take a pair of kitchen shears or scissors and snip along either side of the backbone from bottom to neck. Remove this length of gristle and flesh and save it for stock or soup.

3. Turn the chicken back over, push down on the breast to flatten out the chicken and pull the wings over the top of the breast as shown in the finished photo above.
Pre-heat your oven to 190C. Throw all the prepped veg into the bottom of a roasting tin and lay the ‘butterflied’ chicken on top.

De-stalk and chop up all your herbs nice and small and mix them into the butter. Then spread this all over the top of the chicken, season and roast in a pre-heated oven for 1 hour at 190C. Check on it after half an hour and add a splash of water from the kettle.

Once it’s nice and golden, take it out of the oven and leave it covered in a tea towel whilst you microwave some frozen peas – as a little added greenery will lift the whole meal to utter perfection.

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