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Butterflied Roast Chicken with Chile-Cinnamon Rub

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Serves two to three.

  • by Stephan Pyles from Fine Cooking
    Issue 47

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme or 4 sprigs fresh rosemary; more for garnish, if you like
  • 1 tsp. pure chile powder or 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar, preferably granulated brown
  • 3-1/2 lb. chicken, rinsed inside and out and patted dry with paper towels

Heat the oven to 475°F.

Pour the olive oil into a small saucepan and add the minced garlic and herbs. Set the pan over high heat until the oil is hot, about 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the garlic has browned slightly, about 3 min. Remove from the heat and let infuse for at least 10 min. or up to 2 hours.

In a small bowl, mix together the spices, salt, and sugar.

Set the chicken on a board, breast side down, and butterfly it. Starting at the neck, remove the narrow backbone by cutting through the ribs on each side with kitchen or poultry shears. Leave the breastbone intact. Flatten the bird and turn it skin side up.

Butterflied Roast Chicken with Chile-Cinnamon Rub Recipe
Remove the backbone by cutting through the ribs.
Butterflied Roast Chicken with Chile-Cinnamon Rub Recipe
Press down and flatten; tuck the wing tips under the open bird.

Next, press on the breast with the heel of your hand as the bird lies flat; you'll need to break the collarbones and some ribs. Tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders.

Set the chicken skin side down in a shallow roasting pan or a jelly roll pan. Brush thoroughly with half of the garlic olive oil (use the herb sprigs as a brush, if you want, before discarding them) and sprinkle with half of the spice rub. Turn the bird over and gently loosen the skin over the breast and thighs. Brush the remaining oil and most of the spice rub directly on the flesh under the skin. Rub the remaining spices on the skin. Pierce the skin with a sharp fork or small paring knife randomly in about 10 places to help it crisp.

Roast until the skin is nicely browned and the thigh meat is 170°F or the juices run clear, about 40 min. Remove the chicken from the oven, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 min.

To serve, halve the chicken by cutting straight down the center of the breastbone. Carve each half into drumsticks, thighs, wings, and breast, and garnish on a platter with fresh thyme or rosemary, if you like.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on three servings; Calories (kcal): 700; Fat (g): 44; Fat Calories (kcal): 400; Saturated Fat (g): 12; Protein (g): 70; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 21; Carbohydrates (g): 3; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 8; Sodium (mg): 860; Cholesterol (mg): 275; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This was very good. I made it for two. The flavour was wonderful and the chicken was moist. I followed the recipe exactly and had perfect results.

Wow, this recipe absolutely deserves five stars. I was a little hesitant about the cinnamon (not usually a fan in savory dishes), but I think it made all the difference in this recipe. Yum! Strongly recommend. Next time I will serve it with sweet potatoes as a previous reviewer mentioned.

Great recipe! Followed recipe as written with exellent results. I have a convection oven so the chicken was cooked quicker than the 40 minutes called for and the chicken was very moist & flavorfull with a crackly, crisp skin. The secret, of course, is the herb infused oil brushed under and on the skin of the chicken and the same with the spice mixture.

This was just wonderful! I salted (kosher) the butterflied chicken about three hours before rubbing it, otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. I did prop open the oven door every now and then while it cooked because of the smoke. The chicken was finished a little earlier than 40 minutes as directed. I let it rest tented in foil for longer than 10 minutes and it was still hot. Highly recommend this recipe! Next time we'll try two chickens on the grill with the same rub.

The comination of chili powder, cinnamon and brown sugar in the rub is amazing. It usually smokes up the kitchen and makes a mess of the oven, but other than that it's a great cold weather roast. Good with roasted sweet potatoes.

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