Squished Flat and Crispy on the Outside

Recently, whenever we have decided to roast a chicken, we have butterflied it.   I don’t know how this started exactly, but at some point, I used some lethal kitchen shears to de-spine a chicken in order to roast it faster, and now it has become habit.   Less time in the oven means less gas usage, the meat cooks more evenly, food is on the table faster;  the only drawback is the aesthetic value of presenting a flattened chicken.

Last week we added a new dimension to  the butterfly cooking method:  squash it even flatter with a brick.  Ostensibly, this brick-method makes it Moroccan, if one is to believe Tyler Florence on the TV, but I’m not sure I do.  Regardless, it did present some twists:

  • the skin was crispier than usual owing to the extra fat being squished out and rendered, coating and crisping the skin,
  • the chicken was, naturalement, way flatter than usual,
  • the cooking time was slightly faster.



In addition to adding the brick to our collection of kitchen tools (stolen from the front garden), we finally lashed out and bought the $15 grinder to be dedicated only to grinding spices.  What took us so long?  It was so much easier to use this then trying to mortar-and-pestle them as we used to.   As it turns out, it would’ve been rough going trying to grind up the sumac berries for the za’atar by hand.    The recipe for the chicken suggested serving it with za’atar grilled bread, which was pizza dough we did on the Foreman.  Za’atar, we could’ve bought it ready-made, but since we had the spice grinder it was going to be more fun to build it on our own.


Add a little couscous spiked with toasted almonds and dried apricots, top with some cool minted yogurt, and we could be in Morocco.


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