Fare With A flair: Chicken for which to be thankful

Roast Herbed Chicken is spatchocked for faster cooking. Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press

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Turkey and ham will be on many Thanksgiving tables this weekend.

But if you’re not a real fan of either, consider a simple, but delicious, roast chicken.

The following recipe involves cutting the chicken in half by removing the backbone, then flipping it over and firmly pressing on it to flatten it.  This method is referred to as “spatchcocking.”

This allows the chicken to cook much more quickly and also makes for easier carving when the bird is done.

This version gets lots of flavour from a combination of herbs that includes our Thanksgiving favourite, sage. It also has garlic and butter that is formed into a paste and rubbed under the skin.

This not only gives the chicken loads of flavour but also keeps it moist. The resulting pan juices are delicious poured over a mound of mashed potatoes.

Roast Herbed Chicken

(Serves 8)

2  3 1/2 lb.  ( 2  1.75 kg) chickens

1/3 cup  (75 ml) unsalted butter, softened

3 tbsp. (45 ml) chopped fresh sage

1 tbsp. (15 ml) chopped fresh thyme

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tsp.  (5 ml) kosher salt

1/2 tsp. (2 ml) freshly cracked pepper

2 lemons cut into ¼ inch slices

4 additional sprigs of thyme

1. Preheat oven to 400F. (200C)

2. Place chicken on cutting board breast side down. Using poultry sheers, remove backbones of chickens.  (Freeze bones to make stock at a later time).

2. Flip chicken over and press firmly to flatten.

3. Repeat with second chicken.

3. In small bowl combine butter, sage, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper to form smooth paste.

4. Carefully slide your fingers under skin of chickens to loosen. Rub paste over breasts and thighs.

5. Place lemon slices on bottom of large roasting pan.

6. Place chickens on top, tucking in wings. Rub chickens with remaining butter mixture and season lightly with salt and pepper. Scatter thyme sprigs over top.

7. Roast in oven 40 to 50 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 165F. when inserted into inner thigh.

8. Let rest at least 10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

9. Transfer to cutting board. Carve by removing legs from each chicken then cut between thighs and drumsticks.  Place on platter.

10. Cut breasts into two halves. Transfer to platter.

11. Strain pan juices and serve with chicken, and mashed potatoes.