I recently read in a magazine a sorely misinformed article about how everyone should go at least one day a week without meat. Their reasoning? Meat contains lots of saturated fats, and it is bad for the environment because of the way animals are mass produced, stuffed with antibiotics and crammed into close quarters, creating a toxic sludge of waste and ultimately less nutritious meat. Technically, yes. But that’s like telling someone with a headache that the cure is a guillotine. Why not advise people to change the type of meat they eat? Why not encourage meat that is free run? Pastured? Wild?
Meats like that are available, they just take a little bit of extra searching. And yes, they may cost more, but if you’re not spending all your money on nutritionally superfluous (zombie voice) graaaaiiiinnnsss – overpriced cereals, cereal bars, granola bars, fancy shmancy breads and knobbly crackers… Voila! Extra money for organic, grass fed beef and pastured chickens! And as to meat being high in supposedly unhealthy saturated fat, first allow me to direct you to this great read, and secondly, don’t forget: the kind of fat found in meat is just as affected by an animal’s environment as the kind of muscle. That means that a free range chicken has a much different nutrient profile across muscle, fat and organs versus the lame pile of muscle that resembles a chicken and sits in a pile of its own waste in a factory.
Now for this rooster… since this free run organic rooster was huge, I used the wings to make chicken soup and saved the breasts to use in a separate recipe besides. There was still plenty of meat left to make for an incredible dinner (and lunch the next day!)
Quick facts: spatchcocking refers to a method of preparation where the backbone is cut out and the bird is laid out in a single layer (as in the photo). I simply cut down the middle of the spine here, but now that I think about it, cutting on either side of the spine means more bones for chicken soup!
- Preheat oven to 300° F.
- To prepare the bird, cut on either side of the spine and remove (or simply cut along the middle of the spine, but ensure that your knife is extremely sharp!)
- Place the bird as shown onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Mix all the spices together and rub into the skin of the chicken, ensuring even coverage, especially in the creases at the thighs and around the wings (which are absent in this photo)
- Place the sage leaves into the creases at the thighs and wings.
- Cut the lemon in half width wise and place both halves under the chicken (under the convex part formed by the ribs).
- Cover with foil and roast for two hours.
Spatchcocking is a great way to evenly cook poultry, because it creates a mostly uniform layer of meat. Give this spatchcocked rooster a try – it’s sophreakin’ good!
- a whole rooster, chicken, quail, or other poultry of choice (note: a whole turkey might be too big for this recipe)
- handful of fresh sage leaves
- several pinches of good quality salt (such as Himalayan pink salt or Herbamare®)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp granulated garlic
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 lemon, well washed