Roast spatchcock chicken with couscous and green bits.

I’ve been wanting to do a recipe on the blog for ages. But I wanted it to be something I actually made and ate with the children – y’know so I could show you all how easy it is to cook nice things and supervise toddlers.

Really, I thought, how hard can it be?

Let me tell you how hard it can be – pretty fucking hard.

Not only do you have to cook the bloody thing you have to take pictures of it looking edible all whilst keeping one eye on Gossip Girl and supervising fights on the trampoline. (No weapons allowed.)

Anyway this is the perfect recipe for a sunny day.

Or a not-really-all-that-that-sunny-day but one where you can eat outside.

Basically it’s a recipe suitable for approximately 10 days of the year.

The problem is the couscous. As a mother of 2 small children please listen to me when I tell you NEVER feed couscous to a toddler inside your own house.

I’m off to eat stuff from the fridge but not in a sexy way like Nigella more in a biting chunks out of a block of cheese and swigging wine from the bottle way – which some of you may find sexy. Depends how much you like cheese.

Here’s the recipe.

You will need:

  • Something to drink. You are going to do bad things to a chicken.
  • A Chicken. Preferably a whole one. The more observant of you will notice my chicken had a missing breast which we had eaten the day before in a curry.
  • Proper kitchen scissors/ shears.
  • A love of bone crunching.
  • A Lemon or Lime. I didn’t have one, as well, duh! It was sunny so they all  went in the G&T’s.
  • Some Garlic, Chilli and Rosemary. Foodie props to me for using rosemary stolen it from a neighbours garden which means it was totally foraged and thus cancels out forgetting the lemon.
  • Olive oil.
  • Couscous.
  • Herbs/Green leafy stuff. Or any other salady bits chopped up small.

What to do:

First spatchcock the chicken. Yeah I know. What the fuck?

Basically spatchcocking a chicken involves chopping out the backbone and squashing the poor fucker flat. It’s actually quite good fun. Just make sure you have some serious kitchen scissors/ shears – those wavy edge plastic things borrowed from the craft box are not going to hack it. The backbone is the bit underneath the chicken. I should probably have taken pictures but I didn’t as I was enjoying myself too much.

Once you’ve cut the backbone out squish the ex-chicken flat  with your palms – you should get a satisfying crunch of bone. Then slash the bird across the breast and thighs.

Spend a few minutes worrying you have enjoyed this process a little bit too much.

Smash half a head of garlic, some mild chillies and sprigs of rosemary in a pestle and mortar. I’m sorry this is turning into quite a violent recipe.

No need to peel the garlic you can just pick the papery bits out of your teeth later, add some oil.

Rub your stolen rosemary/garlic/chilli oily shizzle into the cracks of the bird. Squeeze over some lemon or not. Whatevs.

Cover and leave to marinade for, oooh, two episodes of Gossip Girl/ how ever long you’ve got.

Probably would be nice left over night but who is that organised?  Not me.

Turn oven on! This is important. 200C is good. I cook everything at 200C.

Roast bird for 40 – 45 minutes until it is cooked through.

Take it out and leave to stand while you make the couscous. Resist temptation to keep saying couscous in a funny voice.

Pour boiling water over couscous, cover and leave to steam.

Chop up any green bits in the fridge to make the herby shit – I had coriander, mint and rocket (left by visitors who also left a bottle of non alcoholic sparkling grape juice – they will NOT be invited back.)

Add green shit to couscous with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon if you have one. Let’s not get into that again.

Pop chicken and couscous on the table and attempt to take nice pictures whilst shouting at two small children. Realise this is probably not how the professionals do it.

Throw on plates and watch your children complain about it being too spicy/ herby/ chickeny.

Spend entire meal telling a 3 year old to get her hands off her bum while 2 year old runs round the garden in just a nappy singing Jimmy Nail’s ‘Crocodile Shoes’.

Don’t ask.

Have the conversation about how you are never eating dinner with the children ever again for the 47th time.


Bon Appetit!



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13 thoughts on “Roast spatchcock chicken with couscous and green bits.

  1. I too cook everything at 200 and often wonder why but am unable to rest if I set the dial at any other temperature…. Must go, a fight has just broke out in the bl**dy trampoline….

  2. Great recipe! ‘Add green shit to couscous…’ I think this would make a superb alternative cooking programme Kirsty. Everyone’s so bloody delicate and fancy pants about the ingredients – just put on a pair of bovver boots, wield a machete and send photo of yourself with splattered chook to Channel 4 producer in search of novel idea. God I would watch you. x

  3. That looks lush and made me totally crack up laughing too – result! God alone knows how you managed to do it whilst supervising children and watching Gossip Girl, I can’t multi-task that kind of stuff so my hat is off to you! Oh, and I could have warned you about not letting under 18s eat couscous in the house. Complete disaster as even the dog won’t hoover it up after.
    P.S. pinning it too as I like the name 😉

  4. 🙂 I have never spatchcock a chicken, I tend to just roast them as they come, but then I’ve never cooked a whole chicken on the barbie either. Yours looks delicious, I’m surprised your family let it hang around long enough for you to photo it!! #recipeoftheweek

  5. My Daughter also sings Crocodile Shoes at the top of her voice all the time… we have no idea where she learnt it!!

  6. Would like to second the idea of you turning your hand to a channel 4 cooking show. I think the world is ready for your brand of cooking vs kids.

  7. I love that first picture and your style of writing genuinely cracks me up 🙂 The chicken looks beautiful too. Thanks so much for linking up with #recipeoftheweek – I’ve pinned and tweeted this post and there’s a fresh linky going live at 6pm this evening 🙂

  8. My husband makes something similar to this. He grinds dried chillies then rubs them all over the chicken along with Maggi cubes and a little salt. He then tops with sliced onions and bell peppers and places under the grill, turning when the first side is done. He uses it to bargain with me all the time as I don’t make it as well as him, even then he doesn’t make it regularly maybe twice a year, three time if I really pester him. I’ve just realised that I could have asked him to make this for my birthday last month, darn. Anyway, great recipe, may give yours a go if I can be bothered to deal with the chicken.

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