To spatchcock a bird simply means to take out the rib cage by turning upside down, and cutting along either side of the backbone, to press and flatten out the bird. The result is a whole chicken with much more surface area to marinade and rub with spices and herbs. This recipe is also superb for guinea fowl, poussin, quail or even partridge or pheasant.
Firstly I make the marinade with the 200ml of loose yogurt, the
pinch of saffron powder, the juice and zest of the lemon, then a
teaspoon each of coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, ground
cinnamon and a pinch of chilli flakes.
Next add the 10g of sea salt and 2 crushed garlic cloves,
mixing all together to form a marinade, then gently massage into
the bird getting right into the little nooks and crannies.
Leave covered and chilled for a minimum 6 hours, though leaving
overnight is best.
Once marinated, take the chicken out and rub off all the excess
moisture, then cook in your preferred method, whether barbecuing,
griddling, or pan roasting.
My favourite is on the BBQ. To cook, place over medium hot
coals with the lid closed for around 20 minutes skin side down,
then for another 15 minutes once you've turned the bird over.
Pierce the joint between the leg and breast to check the juices
run clear, then leaves to rest for a good ten minutes before
cutting into portions.
Serve with some extra loose yoghurt, cous cous tossed with
raisins and pine nuts or some freshly cooked basmati rice.