Spatchcocked Chicken with Vegetables
Kevin Curry, cookbook author and founder of Fit Men Cook, loves preparing this spatchcocked chicken for Sunday dinner, paired with a healthy dose of vegetables that are flavored by the juices released by the chicken as it cooks. And because the recipe uses a Traeger grill, you can just set the temperature to 400°F and let the Traeger do the rest, eliminating any worries about undercooking or burning the chicken.
For the brine and chicken:
- 6 cups (48 fl. oz./1.5 l) water
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 Tbs. coconut sugar
- 2 Tbs. low-sodium Cajun spice blend
- 1 whole chicken, 3 to 4 lb. (1.5 to 2 kg)
- 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) reduced-calorie mayonnaise
- Leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigs, finely chopped, plus 3 whole thyme sprigs
- Leaves from 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped, plus 4 whole rosemary sprigs
- 4 large fresh sage leaves, finely chopped, plus 2 whole sage leaves
- 4 lemon slices
For the vegetables:
- 1 lb. (500 g) brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered lengthwise
- 3 large carrots, halved lengthwise and cut on the diagonal into 2- to 3-inch (5- to 7.5-cm) pieces
- 2 yellow crookneck squash, halved lengthwise and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch (2.5-cm) slices
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
- 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs. low-sodium Cajun spice blend, or to taste
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
To prepare the chicken, in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken, combine the water, 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) salt, the coconut sugar and Cajun spice blend and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Place the chicken, breast side down, in the bowl; the chicken should be completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Set the temperature on a Traeger wood pellet grill to 400°F (200°C), close the lid and preheat according to the manufacturer’s instructions for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken, breast side down, on a cutting board. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut through the chicken on both sides of the backbone, then remove and discard the backbone. Turn the chicken over so it is breast side up. Using your hands, press down firmly on the breastbone until you hear a cracking noise and the chicken flattens slightly.
In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, chopped thyme, rosemary and sage, 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Using your fingers, carefully separate the skin from the breasts. Rub the mayonnaise mixture under the chicken breast skin and over the entire surface of the chicken. Arrange the lemon slices, thyme sprigs, rosemary sprigs and sage leaves in the center of a heavy baking sheet. Place the chicken, breast side up, on top.
Place the baking sheet on the grill grate, close the lid and roast the chicken until the skin starts to turn golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables: In a large bowl, toss together the brussels sprouts, carrots, squash, bell pepper, olive oil and Cajun spice blend, and season with salt and pepper.
Arrange the vegetables around the chicken on the baking sheet. Continue roasting until the chicken and vegetables are browned, the vegetables are crisp-tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 165°F (74°C), about 25 minutes more.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Carve the chicken into pieces and serve with the vegetables. Serves 4 to 5.
Recipe courtesy of Kevin Curry, founder of Fit Men Cook