The following recipe has been affectionately known by the names ‘Chichcock’, ‘Spatcken’ and ‘The Great Chichicken Debacle’. Conceived and executed with my brilliant friend Mel, the spatchcock stuffed chicken was a two-day affair. Day one consisted of meticulously deboning a small spatchcock, otherwise known as a poussin or juvenile chicken, and a larger adult chicken. Using Jacques Pépin’s youtube tutorial for deboning quail as a guide, we sliced our way through the poultry incurring only minor injuries while keeping the majority of the bird intact. We stuffed and rolled the fowls into a small bundle and chilled them overnight in the fridge until the following day. Day two involved cooking the chickens and after sliding our concoction into a hot oven, two hours later we were delighted to find two tender birds – the spatchcock inside fairing a bit better than the larger chicken outside.
In the words of the great Julia Child from Mastering the Art of French Cooking,
“You may think that boning a fowl is an impossible feat if you have never seen it done or thought of attempting it. Although the procedure may take 45 minutes the first time because of fright, it can be accomplished in not much more than 20 on your second or third try.”
With this advice ringing in our ears, Mel and I decided to forfeit the cooking class or online courses uk in favour of a self-taught approach. In the end, there will be none the wiser should there be a few extra cuts or or pieces after deboning a bird.
Gustave Caillebotte, Display of Chickens and Game Birds, c.1882
oil on canvas, 76 x 105cm, Private collection