Paleo Spatchcock Chicken with Sweet Potato Stuffing
- 1 lb breakfast sausage
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup fresh or frozen cranberries or golden raisins (optional)
- 3 tablespoons chopped rosemary, divided
- 3 tablespoons diced sage, divided
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 whole chicken (3-4 lbs), giblets removed and skin patted dry
- 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Special tools: Kitchen shears
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees with the rack placed in the middle.
- Heat a large skillet (at least 12" in diameter) over medium high heat. Place the breakfast sausage in the skillet and break into small pieces as it cooks. When the sausage is almost cooked through, add the sweet potatoes, apples, shallots, and garlic. Sprinkle the sweet potato mixture with 2 tablespoons each of the rosemary and sage and two teaspoons of the dried thyme. Gently stir to evenly distribute the seasonings. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the sweet potatoes just barely begin to soften, then remove from heat. Pour into a deep sided, 9” x 12” roasting pan and spread evenly. Set aside.
- Place the butter in a small bowl and add the remaining rosemary and sage. Mix it together with a spoon and set aside.
- Place the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board. Using your kitchen shears, remove the backbone by cutting along one side of the bone beginning at the thigh end and continuing all the way up to the neck. Repeat on the other side until the backbone is separate from the rest of the chicken. (Some people like to rotate the chicken 180 degrees before beginning with the second cut. This way you start at the neck and can hold the loose backbone with your left hand as you cut with your right.) Discard the backbone once removed. Flip the chicken over so that the skin side is facing up and spread the cavity open as far as possible. Press down firmly on the breastbone until you hear a crack. Congratulations - you have just spatchcocked a chicken!
- Using your fingers, gently loosen the skin from the chicken. Spread half of the butter mixture directly on the chicken meat underneath the skin and the other half all over the top of the skin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the spatchcocked chicken in the roasting pan directly on top of the “stuffing” mixture. Make sure you spread open the bird from the removed spine area so that it is almost completely flat. Tuck the wings under the breasts and adjust the legs so that the drumsticks face inward.
- Place in the oven and cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees (please use a meat thermometer!) This typically takes me about 1 hour, but check periodically since all ovens vary widely. Also, keep an eye on your bird to prevent any browned spots from forming. If you notice that the skin is starting to burn, loosely tent the chicken with foil until the meat reaches 165 degrees.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Carefully move the cooked chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
- Using a slotted serving spoon, lift a serving of the sweet potato stuffing mixture and allow some of the excess liquid to drip out before placing it on the plate. Serve the carved chicken alongside the stuffing and enjoy!
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