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Yogurt-Marinated Butterflied Chicken

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Serves four.

  • 1 3-1/2- to 4-lb.chicken (I prefer organic)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 large limes)
  • 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt (about 1 lb.)
  • 2 tsp. coriander seeds, crushed
  • 8 medium cloves garlic, cut into slivers
  • 1 2-inch knob ginger, peeled and finely grated

Using poultry shears, cut along each side of the chicken's backbone. Flip the chicken over, press firmly on the center of the breast, and break the breastbone so the chicken lies flat. You can see a video of this technique, called butterflying, here.

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken evenly with 1-1/2 Tbs. kosher salt. Put the chicken in a 9x13-inch Pyrex baking dish (or other large nonreactive baking dish) or a large zip-top plastic bag. Add the lemon juice and lime juice and turn to coat the chicken well. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, coriander, garlic, and ginger in a large, shallow, nonreactive bowl, and stir until the mixture is smooth and all of the seasonings are distributed evenly. Drain the excess citrus juice off the chicken but don’t pat the chicken dry. Put the chicken in the bowl with the yogurt marinade, coating the chicken on all sides and working the yogurt mixture under the breast and thigh skin as much as possible. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. If necessary, turn the chicken occasionally so that all of the surfaces are coated evenly with the marinade.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375ºF. Just before cooking, remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Don’t wipe off the marinade that coats the chicken because it will keep the meat moist and form a delicious crust as it roasts. Set the chicken skin side up on a broiler pan or on a rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Tuck the wingtips under the breast. Roast until the juices run clear and the thigh registers 175º to 180°F, 45 to 55 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting it into quarters and serving.

Leftovers

Use leftover chicken to make a quick curried chicken & apple salad.

Drink Suggestions

Look for a fairly rich, buttery Chardonnay to complement the spice and dairy elements in the marinade. Try the Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay from Sonoma County  or the Benziger Family Winery Chardonnay from Carneros.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings; Calories (kcal): 470; Fat (g): 26; Fat Calories (kcal): 230; Saturated Fat (g): 7; Protein (g): 52; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): 3; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 6; Sodium (mg): 1000; Cholesterol (mg): 170; Fiber (g): 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Made this for a group of friends and it came out great -- everyone wanted the recipe. Very easy -- and I had the butcher butterfly the chicken for me (might be considered cheating, I know, but that's the way I roll).

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