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Roast a chicken for Thanksgiving — you won’t miss the turkey |
Food & Drink

Roast a chicken for Thanksgiving — you won’t miss the turkey

Butterflying the chicken before you put it in the oven helps it to cook faster.

Like most cooks, I’ve had many conversations on the proper way to roast a whole chicken. Some argue that roasting with the breast side down is the very best way to keep the bird moist enough, while others insist that method produces a zebra-striped bird stamped with its roasting lines. And what’s the correct roasting temperature?

There are so many techniques out there; many people I know claim that their recipe is “the best.” My dear pal and colleague, Laurie Burrows Grad, esteemed for her cookbooks and prowess in the kitchen, is adamant that this is “The One” — the best roast chicken ever. It is Seriously Simple and delicious!

To butterfly a whole chicken means to remove the chicken’s backbone so you can open it like a book, or a butterfly, and lay it flat so it will cook evenly. If you don’t want to butterfly the chicken, ask your butcher to do it for you. Laurie suggests that you embellish the chicken with rosemary or other fresh herbs. I sometimes cut up an orange or a sweet Meyer lemon and add it to the potatoes on the bottom of the pan. You can also add carrots and mushrooms to the potatoes.

I have tried a butterflied turkey for Thanksgiving and found it cooked much faster than the traditional whole bird. I hadn’t tried a butterflied chicken before. It works beautifully. Be assured: You will have a crispy, moist chicken with this high-heat butterflied method. If you’re having a small group this Thanksgiving, try a butterflied chicken for your entree. Serve some fresh cranberry sauce on the side.

Contact Diane Rossen Worthington at

Butterflied Roast Chicken

Olive oil

1 large roasting chicken (4 to 4 12 pounds), butterflied

Seasoning salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

12 small new potatoes, sliced in half

8 peeled shallots, sliced in half

Olive oil cooking spray

Salt, to taste

Heat a convection oven to 450 degrees or a standard oven to 500 degrees.

Rub olive oil on both sides of the chicken, season with seasoning salt and pepper, and place in a large roasting pan skin side up, splayed out.

Place the cut potatoes and shallots around the sides and coat them with olive oil cooking spray. Season the potatoes and onions with salt and pepper.

If using a convection oven, roast the chicken at 450 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. If using a regular oven, roast it at 500 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. To make sure it is cooked through, use a meat thermometer and make sure the thigh is at 165 degrees.

Remove and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve and serve alongside the potatoes and onions.

Makes 4 servings.

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