< One Way to Beautifully Roast a Chicken
By Anna Matteo
09 December 2021

The shiny look of a glazed, roasted chicken may look delicious. But it can be difficult to achieve.

The sugar in the glaze caramelizes in the oven. To caramelize food is to heat the sugar in it at a high temperature. This removes all the water. The sugar breaks down and then reforms. The taste it produces is more complex -- both sweet and salty, buttery and nutty.

Caramelizing also adds a deeper brown color to the food, in this case the chicken skin. That is, if the sugary glaze stays on.

FILE - In this May 8, 2008, file photo, a butcher spreads out rotisserie-roasted chicken at Costco in Mountain View, California. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
FILE - In this May 8, 2008, file photo, a butcher spreads out rotisserie-roasted chicken at Costco in Mountain View, California. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Roasting in the oven at a high temperature means the glaze could burn. Or it could come off the chicken and into the pan. This does not lead to a caramelized chicken, but rather just a really dirty container.

A cooking expert, Christopher Kimball, wrote a story for the Associated Press about a well-tested method that keeps the glaze on the chicken. The solution, he says, is in the preparation of the chicken.

Kimball and his team of food experts found that cutting the chicken open and removing its backbone worked best. You can then open the bird and lay it flat in your roasting pan.

The chicken cooks and browns evenly. And because the chicken is flat, the glaze stays where it belongs – on the chicken.

Cooks calls this preparation method spatchcocking. It is also known as butterflying because the bird's shape looks like a butterfly.

Kimball's recipe for this simple glaze uses few ingredients. He adds some citrus juice to the glaze in a separate container to use later when the chicken is done.

This dish takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to make. However, only 20 minutes are actual cooking time. While the chicken is in the oven, you can prepare any side dishes for the meal. Since your oven is already on, you could easily roast some potatoes and seasonal vegetables at the same time.

Chutney-glazed spatchcocked chicken

Here are the ingredients:

Here are the cooking directions:

I'm Anna Matteo.

Do you have a favorite chicken dish to share? Or maybe another use of the spatchcocking/butterfly method? Let us know in the Comments Section.

Christopher Kimball reported this story for the Associated Press. Anna Matteo adapted it for VOA Learning English. Susan Shand was the editor.


Words in This Story

glaze – n. a liquid mixture that is put on the surface of something and that becomes shiny and smooth when it is dry

roast – v. to cook by exposing to dry heat (as in an oven or before a fire)

delicious – adj. very good tasting

oven – n. a piece of cooking equipment that is used for baking or roasting food

flat – adj. arranged or laid out so as to be level or even

recipe – n. a set of instructions for making food

ingredient – n. one of the things that are used to make a food, product, etc.

sauce – n. a usually thick liquid poured over or mixed with food

stock – n. liquid in which meat, fish, or vegetables have been simmered that is used as a basis for soup, gravy, or sauce

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