Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Butterflied Paprika Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables

butterflied chicken

 First of all, I want to address the fact that as elegant as it sounds, “butterflying” a chicken is a somewhat macabre task that involves cutting out the chicken’s spine.  But I guess it doesn’t get much more primal than that unless you kill the chicken yourself...So, bonus points are in order for butchering your own bird!

I would also like to vent about something that I’m sure peeves many foodies out there.  I was recently sick with some sort of cold, and since my nose was stuffed up, I could barely taste my food.  For a foodie, having a stuffy nose is like being an athlete who suffers an injury.  Not being able to taste food is akin to a cruel form of punishment that transforms cooking from my favorite hobby into a daunting chore, especially when I’m feeling tired and rundown from being sick, too.  But as irritating as it is and being the nerd that I am, I find the science of taste to be pretty fascinating.  The majority of what one tastes results from a process called retronasal olfaction, which is a fancy term referring to the air that flows into the back of the nose from the throat.  Volatile compounds (or the smell that comes from food) travel through the back of the nose when food is chewed.  So technically, food only “tastes good” because it “smells good,” and if you can’t smell when you eat, you probably can’t taste either.  On that note, I hope you enjoy the smell of this dish as much as I would have if I didn’t have the sniffles.  (Don't worry, I promise it is still yummy.)

Butterflied Paprika Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables

  • one whole 3 to 5 pound chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 turnip, chopped
  • ½ cup baby carrots
  • ½ onion (red or yellow), roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. With the chicken breast-side down, begin cutting along one side of the spine from the bottom of the chicken to the neck.  (I used kitchen shears, which make the job much easier than using a knife.)  Cut along the other side of the spine, and remove it.  Flip the chicken over (cavity side down) and press gently to flatten it.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Pat the chicken dry, rub it with 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil, and season both sides with the seasoning mixture, reserving about 2 teaspoons of the seasoning for the vegetables.
  5. Toss the veggies with the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil and the seasoning mixture.
  6. Place the chicken breast-side up in a roasting pan and surround it with the veggies.
  7. Roast everything in the oven for about 1 ½ hours, or until the juices from the chicken run clear and the chicken is cooked through.  (My chicken was about 3.6 pounds. If your chicken is bigger, it might take a little while longer to cook.)