Apr 5, 2014

A Welcome 'Toast' to Nigel Slater {Spatchcocked Chicken with Spinach Couscous}

This week I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) toasts a new chef: Nigel Slater.

Since I know nothing about Nigel Slater, I decided to follow my latest obsession (thanks to IHCC and Donna Hay)...Spatchcocked Chicken.

Last week (was that just last week?  Seems like months...) I tried Donna Hay's Flat-roasted Chicken with Almond and Mint.  It was the first time I prepared chicken his way.  We loved it.  Raved about it.  It made my Donna Hay Top Five list.

I couldn't wait to make it again.
And you should know that I truly dislike roasting chicken.

So it turns out that Nigel Slater spatchcocks (I'm totally giggling) chicken too.

Donna Hay's chicken was roasted pretty plain--just some olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Dress up time came at serving.  In the form of a mint/almond sauce.

Nigel Slater makes a sauce of olive oil, lemon juice, and thyme and pours it over the chicken before roasting.  The chicken roasts in this sauce along with more thyme, a whole head of garlic, and lemon halves.

Slater's chicken was good, but, well, two things.
1. I got greedy.  Because I liked my first try at spatchcocking so much, I bought a super duper giant chicken.  I've come to the conclusion that spatchcocking should not be performed on big chickens.  The smaller ones roast more evenly.

2. One of the great things about Donna Hay's chicken was that the skin gets very crispy while the inside stays juicy.  Since Slater's chicken is roasted with a sauce poured over the top, the skin never got as crispy as I'd liked.

But let's talk about the second part of this recipe.
Spinach Couscous.

It doesn't hurt that spinach is my all time favorite vegetable.  Ever.
And always.
The genius of this recipe, though, is cooking the couscous in all of the drippings from the roasting pan.

So much genius.
And more flavor than you can spatchcock a chicken with.

Nigel Slater's Spatchcocked Chicken with Spinach Couscous (which was supposed to be Rocket Couscous) can be found at the Guardian's website.

IHCC's Nigel Slater welcome posts can be found here.


  1. Gorgeous photos of such a beautiful plate of food. Love all of the roasting of the extra lemon, thyme and garlic and that spinach couscous looks amazing too. This is a perfect dish to welcome Nigel! ;-)

  2. I just bought 2 small chickens this week, and this went through my mind of cooking them like this. I didn't know it had a name until now ... I am still laughing. I just thought it was a new method of cooking chicken when I had came across photos. Thanks for posting about spatchcocked chicken, Michelle.

  3. Yum! I, too, am sold on the whole idea of splatchcocking birds ... I'm thinking duck would be a good candidate too ... that Nigel has some good ideas don't you think? Lemon and thyme and basting that bird with that lovely sauce ...

  4. The second part is definitely for me :)
    I love spinach and I love couscous :)
    Actually I've just bought mix of couscous with spinach and tomatoes (it takes 5 minutes and it's ready)

  5. The Guardian is always a source of cooking inspiration.

  6. I've actually spatchcocked a small turkey with great results...it just wasn't something you wanted to carve at table (best done in secret in the kitchen!)
    Looks like a fabulous dish, especially the coucscous made with flavourful drippings.

  7. The chicken looks golden and delicious. And using the drippings from the roasting pan to cook the couscous sounds really good to me. I have learnt to enjoy eating couscous and this chicken and couscous meal looks really good.
    Looking forward to more delicious cooking with Nigel!

  8. The first time I spatchcocked a chicken was with Yotam Ottolenghi and I gotta say it made my top five YO dishes. I've made it several times since because we love it so much. I think it had 25 cloves of garlic and we all just pretty much inhaled it. You brought up some good points about the chicken, namely the size and the skin. Two very important parts worth considering and fooling around with until you reach perfection.

    The whole meal looks perfect Michelle and I'm pinning this because I'd like to make both recipes!

  9. One of my readers recommended Nigel Slater's "Toast" to me, so now I'll have to check it out. This looks so good, with the couscous! And I LOVE the baked garlic pictured with your chicken - yum!

  10. That was an awesome post, I really enjoyed that! When you say spatchcock too many times it doesn't sound like a proper word, just a funny sound :-)
    Kudos on this chicken recipe though. My favorite is a chicken dish, any ol time,

  11. Everything looks really good but I especially would like to make the couscous!

  12. Spatchcocking is such a great way to cook chicken, but I'm inclined to agree - I think it works better with smaller chickens. Shame that the chicken didn't quite deliver the crispy skin that you would have liked, but huge bonus that you got to use the chickeny juices to cook the couscous - I cannot wait to try that. I am absolutely salivating just thinking about that.


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