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Grilled Butterflied Chicken with Herbed Buttermilk Dressing

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

There’s something a little uncomfortable about looking at a butterflied chicken, don’t ya’ think? Its knocked knees always make me think it’s about to jump off the plate and start dancing the can-can around the kitchen! I obviously need to get out more...

Dancing chickens aside, if you’re going to grill a chicken, this is the way to do it! By butterflying (or spatchcocking) a chicken, it is cooked evenly in a shorter time, ensuring that the meat stays wonderfully moist. We’ve also slathered it with butter and fresh herbs under the skin, so the meat becomes really fragrant and the skin gets nice ’n crisp. Are you drooling yet?

I first saw the lovely @inagarten butterfly and grill a chicken on one of her shows (which, by the way, it’s just so soothing to watch her do her magic, isn’t it?) We always like to step up a meal with a good sauce, so we came up with this Herbed Buttermilk Dressing. Incidentally, this is also great with onion rings, roasted veggies, creamer potatoes, anything really - you get the drift!

If you’ve never spatchcocked a chicken (or if you’re a little squeamish like me, and don’t like the sound of cracking bones) then give your butcher a little wink and smile, he’ll probably do it for you. If you’re into DIY but you’ve never done it before, you’ll find plenty of instructions online. You just need some sturdy kitchen shears and a brave heart. This recipe is for one chicken, but we highly recommended doing two whilst you’re at it, as leftovers are always welcome for sandwiches and salads! xoxo Kirsty

Ingredients: (serves 3-4)

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 1 bunch of rosemary, leaves of 4 sprigs chopped, the rest for later

  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme, leaves of 4 sprigs chopped, the rest for later

  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed

  • zest of one organic lemon, finely grated

  • juice of 1/2 lemon (slice the other half for later)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 1 whole chicken (around 2-1/2 pounds, butterflied)

  • vegetable oil for the grill

Combine the softened butter, rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper small bowl to make a paste.

Place the chicken on a roasting sheet pan, and loosen the skin from the meat with your fingers. Rub the herbed butter under the skin, and rub any leftover butter on the outside and the underside.

Turn the chicken over (skin side down) and arrange the lemon slices, and a few more sprigs of the rosemary and thyme over the bony side. Season with salt and pepper. 'Close' the chicken, rolling it as if it were a whole chicken again, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, but at least 1 hour.

Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before you're ready to cook it. Preheat the grill to medium. Place the chicken on the grill, skin side down and grill until the skin becomes golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Turn the chicken over, close the cover and continue grilling until just cooked through, about 15 minutes longer. Remove from the grill, loosely tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes before cutting into sections. Serve with Herbed Buttermilk Dressing, recipe below.

Herbed Buttermilk Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup scallions, roughly chopped

  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped

  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • zest of 1 lemon

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend! Taste, to check for seasoning.

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