Broiled butterflied chicken

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient
3 pounds Broiler-fryer chicken *
2 tablespoons Melted butter mixed with
1 teaspoon Olive oil or cooking oil.
\N \N Salt and freshly ground pepper.
1 pinch Of thyme, tarragon or mixed herbs, optional.
1 tablespoon Finely minced shallot or scallion
½ cup Chicken stock and/or dry white wine or French vermouth
1 \N Tb to 2 tb butter for enrichment, optional
\N \N * butterflied as described in the preceding paragraph.


This is a basic recipe that can be dressed up any way you like. This is one of the "Master" recipes in the book. She presents Master recipes for each category of food then offers variations on the themes.

I really like this book because it offers solid basics and then gets whimsical. It really lives up to its "The Way to Cook" title.

Of course you can broil a half chicken or chicken in parts, but when you want a handsome presentation at the table, butterfly is the way to go.

To butterfly a chicken. First remove the backbone by cutting down close to it on each side with a heavy knife or sturdy shears. Spread the chicken skin side up on your work surface and bang the breast with your fist to break the collarbones and some of the ribs; this flattens the chicken. Cut off the little nubbins at the wing elbows, and fold the wings akimbo by tucking the wing ends behind the shoulders. Then make a slit in the skin at either side of the breast tip. Push the knee of the drumstick firmly up under the armpit to loosen the join; then pull it down and insert the tip of the drumstick through the skin slit. The leg will be held in place.

For 4 servings:


A stout knife and/or shears for preparing the chicken; a basting brush; a baking dish about 1 inch deep (without rack) that will just hold the butterflied chicken easily.

Broiling - 25 to 30 minutes. Preheat the broiler. Brush the chicken all over with some of the butter and oil. Arrange it skin side down in the baking dish, and set it so the surface of the flesh is about 5 inches from the hot broiler element. After 5 minutes, brush the flesh, which should just be starting to brown, with the butter and oil. Baste again in 5 minutes ++ use the juices in the pan when the butter mixture is gone. Broil for another 5 minutes, then sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and optional herbs. Turn the chicken skin side up. Broil and baste 15 minutes or so more.

When is it done? The chicken is nearly done when brown juices begin to appear in the pan. It is definitely done when the drumsticks feel tender, and, when the thickest part is pricked with the sharp tines of a kitchen fork, the juices run clear yellow. Do not overcook.

SAUCE: Remove the chicken to a hot platter; cover to keep warm the few minutes required for the optional sauce. Skim fat off the cooking juices, stir in the chopped shallot or scallion, and saute a moment on top of the stove. Add the liquid and boil rapidly, scraping into it any coagulated cooking juices. When reduced almost to a syrup, swirl in the butter. Pour the sauce over the chicken.

SERVING: To carve, cut straight down one side of the breastbone to separate the chicken in two lengthwise. Grab under one of the knees with your fork to lift it up, slit the skin front and back, and bend the knee back at right angles to break open the joint at the small of the back. Then cut through the ball joint to separate the thigh from the carcass. Separate drumsticks from thighs at the knee joints.

Remove the wings along with a lengthwise strip of meat from the lower third of the breast, to make meaningful servings. You now have 2 drumsticks, 2 things, 2 wings with a breast strip, and 2 breast sections ++ everyone has a little selection of both dark and light.

Suggested accompaniment to broiled chicken. You could serve broiled tomatoes, sauteed potatoes, and a green vegetable, or be more elaborate with an eggplant dish such as a souffle, or a ratatouille.

Another idea is a hot corn salad. For wine, either a sturdy white wine like a chardonnay or sauvignon, or a light red such as a pinot noir or Beaujolais.

From "The Way to Cook", Julia Child, Alfred Knopf, 1989. ISBN 0-394-53264-3

Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; September 13 1992.

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