Rather than broiling a chicken in pieces, which is easy to do but not wildly exciting, and rather than roasting it whole, which takes an hour or more, butterfly your chicken. It cooks in half the time and makes a great presentation.
Yield: 4 servings
A 2½-to-3-pound broiler-fryer chicken, butterflied
2 tablespoons melted butter blended with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoons dried thyme or an herb mixture
For the deglazing sauce:
1 tablespoon minced shallot or scallion
½ cup chicken broth and/or dry white wine or vermouth
1 to 2 tablespoons butter, for enrichment
To Butterfly a Chicken: With heavy shears or a cleaver, cut down close to the backbone on each side, and remove the bone. Spread the chicken open, skin side up, and pound on the breast with your fist to flatten the chicken. Cut off and discard the little nubbins at the wing elbows, and fold the wings akimbo. To hold the legs in place, make ½-inch slits in the skin on each side of the lower breast and tuck the drumstick ends through the slits.
Preheat the broiler to high. Brush the chicken all over with butter and oil and arrange it skin side down in a shallow pan. Set it under the broiler so the chicken surface is about 6 inches from the heat source. Let broil for about 5 minutes, then baste rapidly with the butter and oil, and continue for another 5 minutes. The surface should be browning nicely; if not, adjust the heat or the distance of chicken from broiler. Baste again, this time with the juices accumulated in the pan, and broil another 5 minutes. Then season with salt and pepper, turn the chicken skin side up, and season the surface. Continue broiling and basting with the pan juices every 5 minutes for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is done (see Notes).
Remove the chicken to a carving board and let it rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, make the deglazing sauce by first spooning cooking fat off the juices in the pan. Then stir the shallot into the pan and simmer for a minute or so on top of the stove, until the juices are syrupy. Swirl in the enrichment butter, pour over the chicken, and serve.
When Is A Roast Chicken Done?
When an instant meat thermometer inserted between the thigh and breast reads 165°–170°F, its legs move in their sockets, the thickest part of the drumstick is tender when pressed, and when it is pricked deeply its juices run clear yellow. When you hold the chicken breast-up, the very last drops of juice to drain from the vent run clear yellow.