Spatchcocking, or cutting out the backbone and laying flat, helps a bird roast more quickly and gives something to jump-start a crock-pot of stock with. The name is bad and so is the picture, but this is the fastest and most delicious way to get chicken dinner on the table.
Total time to dinner including prep, preheat and roasting was under an hour and fifteen minutes - an absolute coup with my new Breville Mini Smart Oven, which is basically a fancy toaster. I used to wait over an hour for my range to preheat, now it takes barely 5 minutes. I love it!
I first learned about spatchcocking from the Canal House ladies, there is an especially good recipe for Chicken Roasted Over Potatoes & Lemon on p. 184 of their book Canal House Cooks Everyday.
For this dinner, start by preheating your oven to 400°. Line a cooking sheet with foil, then slice fingerling potatoes longways, pile them on the sheet and toss with olive oil and some salt, then spread them out over the sheet. Remove the backbone from the chicken with kitchen scissors and some might: start at the base of the tail and cut through the ribs all the way up to the top on either side of the spine. Lay the chicken out flat on top of the potatoes and rub it with salt. Roast for about 50 minutes, until a meat thermometer registers 180° in the thickest part of the thigh and the thickest part of the breast.
Serve with a salad and you're set. For winter dinner, little gem lettuce, thinly sliced purple cabbage, sliced radish and grated carrot make a crunchy combo that pairs well with Deborah Madison's creamy, low-fat, Salad Dressing with Shiro Miso and Sesame. The recipe is on p. 362 of her book Vegetable Literacy. I used white miso and it worked out fine.
For stock: plop the backbone in a crockpot, peel and halve an onion and add it, wash a piece of celery and add that, too. Cover with water, leaving enough room to add the rest of the chicken bones after dinner. I usually feed the drumsticks to my kids and discard those bones, but slice the rest of the meat or pull it off the bones for another meal, adding those bones to the pot. Simmer overnight, strain and freeze in a jar with straight sides. Here's an example if you don't know what I mean.