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Recipe: Your new Sunday dinner is here -- a butterflied chicken marinated in yogurt and sumac

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 2/4/2020 Karoline Boehm Goodnick
a plate of food on a table: Spatchcock Chicken with Yogurt and Sumac © Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe Spatchcock Chicken with Yogurt and Sumac

Serves 4

Spatchcock is the term used for butterflied chicken (or any bird). Some markets now sell spatchcock chickens but you can also do it yourself. You have to remove the backbone, which is easy enough with kitchen shears. Cut along either side of the backbone to let the chicken spread out; open the sides like a book to flatten it. It's a simple technique that significantly reduces the cooking time. Ground sumac comes from the dried red berries of a Middle Eastern plant; the flavor is quite tangy and the bold color brightens a dish. The spice is carried by some big supermarkets and all Middle Eastern and Mediterranean shops. To marinate the chicken, mix yogurt (yogurt is an ancient tenderizer) with sumac, ground coriander, garlic, and lemon rind and juice. Make small slits in the underside of the bird to let the marinade penetrate the flesh better. Spread the marinade generously all over the bird, under and over the skin. Refrigerate uncovered for at least several hours, or overnight, for the best flavor and crispest skin. When you're ready to cook the chicken, let it sit out of the refrigerator for half an hour while you slice onion, bell pepper, and a lemon. Roast them briefly, then set the chicken in the hot pan and let everything roast together. In the meantime, make a pot of rice or couscous. When it's time to serve, present the whole golden bird to your guests or cut it into pieces and arrange them on a platter with the vegetables. It's your new Sunday dinner.

CHICKEN

1cup plain Greek yogurt
2tablespoons ground sumac
2teaspoons ground coriander
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1tablespoon salt
1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds)

1. Have on hand kitchen shears and a rimmed baking sheet fitted with a metal rack.

2. In a bowl, combine the yogurt, sumac, coriander, garlic, lemon rind and juice, and salt.

3. Remove the sack of giblets from the chicken and use them to make stock for another recipe. Set the chicken on a cutting board breast-side down. With the kitchen shears, cut along either side of the backbone. Remove the backbone and add it to the giblets. Open the back side of the bird like you would open a book. With a paring knife, make 2 small slits in each thigh and 1 in each breast. This helps the marinade penetrate the flesh from the underside. Spread some of the yogurt marinade on the underside.

4. Turn the bird over so that it is now breast-side up. Open it more and flatten it as much as possible with the heel of your hand, pressing firmly on the breast bone.

5. With your fingertips, gently release the skin from the flesh beginning at the neck end of the breast. Spread the remaining marinade under and over the skin of the entire bird. Transfer the chicken to the metal rack and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least several hours, or as long as overnight.

VEGETABLES

1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thickly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1tablespoon olive oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)

1. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have on hand a roasting pan or large cast iron skillet (12 to 14 inches).

3. In the roasting pan or skillet, toss the onion, bell pepper, lemon, olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Spread them out. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the oven. Set the chicken on the vegetables. Return the pan to the oven and roast for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees. If the temperature has reached 165 degrees, but the bird is not golden, turn on the broiler. Place the oven rack 6 inches below the heating element, and set the roasting pan on this rack. Watching carefully, broil the chicken for 2 to 5 minutes, turning the pan around often, or until the chicken is golden.

5. Serve whole or cut up with the vegetables and couscous or rice. Sprinkle with parsley.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Serves 4

Spatchcock is the term used for butterflied chicken (or any bird). Some markets now sell spatchcock chickens but you can also do it yourself. You have to remove the backbone, which is easy enough with kitchen shears. Cut along either side of the backbone to let the chicken spread out; open the sides like a book to flatten it. It's a simple technique that significantly reduces the cooking time. Ground sumac comes from the dried red berries of a Middle Eastern plant; the flavor is quite tangy and the bold color brightens a dish. The spice is carried by some big supermarkets and all Middle Eastern and Mediterranean shops. To marinate the chicken, mix yogurt (yogurt is an ancient tenderizer) with sumac, ground coriander, garlic, and lemon rind and juice. Make small slits in the underside of the bird to let the marinade penetrate the flesh better. Spread the marinade generously all over the bird, under and over the skin. Refrigerate uncovered for at least several hours, or overnight, for the best flavor and crispest skin. When you're ready to cook the chicken, let it sit out of the refrigerator for half an hour while you slice onion, bell pepper, and a lemon. Roast them briefly, then set the chicken in the hot pan and let everything roast together. In the meantime, make a pot of rice or couscous. When it's time to serve, present the whole golden bird to your guests or cut it into pieces and arrange them on a platter with the vegetables. It's your new Sunday dinner.

CHICKEN

1cup plain Greek yogurt
2tablespoons ground sumac
2teaspoons ground coriander
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1tablespoon salt
1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds)

1. Have on hand kitchen shears and a rimmed baking sheet fitted with a metal rack.

2. In a bowl, combine the yogurt, sumac, coriander, garlic, lemon rind and juice, and salt.

3. Remove the sack of giblets from the chicken and use them to make stock for another recipe. Set the chicken on a cutting board breast-side down. With the kitchen shears, cut along either side of the backbone. Remove the backbone and add it to the giblets. Open the back side of the bird like you would open a book. With a paring knife, make 2 small slits in each thigh and 1 in each breast. This helps the marinade penetrate the flesh from the underside. Spread some of the yogurt marinade on the underside.

4. Turn the bird over so that it is now breast-side up. Open it more and flatten it as much as possible with the heel of your hand, pressing firmly on the breast bone.

5. With your fingertips, gently release the skin from the flesh beginning at the neck end of the breast. Spread the remaining marinade under and over the skin of the entire bird. Transfer the chicken to the metal rack and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least several hours, or as long as overnight.

VEGETABLES

1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thickly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1tablespoon olive oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)

1. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have on hand a roasting pan or large cast iron skillet (12 to 14 inches).

3. In the roasting pan or skillet, toss the onion, bell pepper, lemon, olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Spread them out. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the oven. Set the chicken on the vegetables. Return the pan to the oven and roast for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees. If the temperature has reached 165 degrees, but the bird is not golden, turn on the broiler. Place the oven rack 6 inches below the heating element, and set the roasting pan on this rack. Watching carefully, broil the chicken for 2 to 5 minutes, turning the pan around often, or until the chicken is golden.

5. Serve whole or cut up with the vegetables and couscous or rice. Sprinkle with parsley.Karoline Boehm Goodnick

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