The secret to beautifully glazed roast chicken

  • Spatchcocking, or butterflying, involves cutting out a bird's backbone so it can be flattened. This allows the chicken to brown evenly and helps the glaze stay put. The simple glaze mixes tangy-sweet chutney with butter and turmeric. Citrus juice added to a portion of the glaze before cooking makes a bright dipping sauce.

    Spatchcocking, or butterflying, involves cutting out a bird's backbone so it can be flattened. This allows the chicken to brown evenly and helps the glaze stay put. The simple glaze mixes tangy-sweet chutney with butter and turmeric. Citrus juice added to a portion of the glaze before cooking makes a bright dipping sauce. Milk Street/Associated Press

 
By CHRISTOPHER KIMBALL
Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street/ Associated Press
Posted1/5/2022 6:00 AM

The lacquered look of a glazed roasted chicken may be alluring, but it can be a trial to execute well.

The sugar in glazes caramelizes in the oven, adding deep sweet-savory notes and intensifying browning. That is, unless the glaze drips off the football-shaped bird, as so many do, creating a sticky, scorched mess on your pan.

 

Our solution came in a well-tested technique for evenly roasting chickens: spatchcocking, or butterflying, which involves cutting out and discarding a bird's backbone so it can be spread open and flattened. This allows the chicken to cook and brown evenly, while also making it easier to spread on a glaze and have it stay put in the oven.

Spatchcocking, or butterflying, involves cutting out a bird's backbone so it can be flattened. This allows the chicken to brown evenly and helps the glaze stay put.
Spatchcocking, or butterflying, involves cutting out a bird's backbone so it can be flattened. This allows the chicken to brown evenly and helps the glaze stay put. - Milk Street/Associated Press

For this recipe from our book "COOKish," which limits recipes to just six ingredients without sacrificing flavor, we make a simple glaze with fruity, tangy-sweet chutney mixed with butter for richness and turmeric for savoriness.

Before cooking, we mix citrus juice into a portion of the glaze to serve as a sauce alongside the carved chicken.

An herbed grain pilaf is a perfect accompaniment.

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Spatchcocking, or butterflying, involves cutting out a bird's backbone so it can be flattened. This allows the chicken to brown evenly and helps the glaze stay put. The simple glaze mixes tangy-sweet chutney with butter and turmeric.
Spatchcocking, or butterflying, involves cutting out a bird's backbone so it can be flattened. This allows the chicken to brown evenly and helps the glaze stay put. The simple glaze mixes tangy-sweet chutney with butter and turmeric. - Milk Street/Associated Press
Chutney-Glazed Spatchcocked Chicken

½ cup tamarind chutney or mango chutney

4 tablespoons salted butter, melted

1 teaspoon ground turmeric or ground ginger

Juice of 1 lemon or 1 lime

4-pound whole chicken

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Stir together the chutney, butter and turmeric; measure ⅓ cup into a small bowl, then stir the juice into it; set aside for serving. Using kitchen shears, cut along each side of the chicken's backbone and discard. Place the bird skin side up flat on the rack. Season with salt and pepper, then brush with half the chutney mixture. Roast for 40 minutes. Brush with the remaining chutney mixture and roast until the thighs reach 175 degrees, another 10 to 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes. Carve and serve with the sauce.

Serves 4 to 6

For more recipes, go to Christopher Kimball's Milk Street at 177milkstreet.

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