“My God, he looks like he’s beating a chicken.”
Byron Nelson

Have you ever done a spatchcock on a blessed chicken? A 40 garlic chicken recipe, ‘Roasted Butterflied Chicken’ at Pig Pig’s Corner, a delicious blog, had held my attention for a few days. Much inspired, and very brave in my own eyes, I bought a ‘whole‘ chicken, with the skin on the other day. A first for me! I am least comfortable handling non vegetarian raw material. In sheer fright, I stuffed the chicken into the freezer. Wasn’t geared up to handle it midweek with the kids all over the place. Last weekend I bravely ventured in ‘that’ direction, and then stared at the bird. UGH! 7am with a ‘skinny’ bird is no fun! …

… but first, I have something important to announce, & then back to the ‘Spatchcock’ story.
It’s the first Wednesday of September & I’m here to announce the 4 ingredients for Paper Chef. My dear friend Ilva, of the beautiful blog Lucillian Delights, featured on TIMES ONLINE as one of the 50 world’s best food blogs, asked me to be an ad hoc judge for this episode. Of course I’m delighted to do so. Paper Chef, an idea conceived by Owen of Tomatilla, was taken over by Ilva. It is a creative cooking competition that takes place every first whole weekend of the month. You can find information, dates, the current ingredient list, roundups and more here, and the rules & regulations here. I’ve chosen 3 regular ingredients – RICOTTA , DARK CHOCOLATE & GINGERand I would like you to create a dish using these three, with any fourth ingredient that signifies FALL (Autumn). Summer is behind us, & with the weather changing across the globe, I’d love to see the magic you work up with these.
You have until Tuesday noon (where you live) to send it to paperchef AT gmail DOT com. The roundup will be posted here and the winners will be announced first on the judges blog ( that’s me, he he) and then here. To quote Ilva, “Paper Chef is about being creative and discovering your non-limits in the kitchen, I promise that you will surprise yourself once you get going!” … OK, back to spatchcocking! Read a couple of tutorials and began to look for the ‘spine’. Hmmm, eventually took out a cleaver & pair of kitchen scissors, & removed what I believe was the spine & breast bone. SCARY! So many biology dissections later, so many meals later, I couldn’t tell the back from the front of a bird! Tweeted my agony & help was at hand. Robyn tweeted back… and then sent me a link too. By the time the hub woke up, he knew he was in trouble. One look at my face had him scurrying for cover. All well? I told him I killed a dead bird but we had to have it for lunch. A peep into the fridge later, and a ‘WOW‘ uttered by him seemed to make the world a better place again. OK! He stated the obvious! You had to remove the spine to flatten it obviously. Should have woken me up! Hmmmph! I did the best I could, but next time my friend the butcher shall be my spatchcocker!
In all that I found another recipe I had bookmarked for a whole chicken…chicken al mattone or chicken under a brick. Another yummy one, looked delicious. So, decided to get adventurous, and for lunch that day, chicken al mattone met the 40 garlic chicken. Delicious is the word … & disappeared very fast. Wasn’t sure if the kids would eat chicken with the skin on, so didn’t breathe a word. Didn’t have to. They wolfed it down. I tossed some potatoes in oil, vinegar & salt, and pushed them in the same pan alongside the chicken, placed a stone on the whole thing, and let it cook. Loved all the flavours that came through. Finished the chicken off on a hot grill pan over high flame for 5-7 minutes, drained the juices from the roasting pan, & let the potatoes finish off on the highest oven setting. Was a delicious meal; everything was polished off. Served it with a French Fougasse on the side, with a ricotta, walnut and Romesco filling. The ricotta is from a David Lebovitz recipe that I use often now, as soft cheese is my current obsession! It’s a simple recipe; you don’t need a candy thermometer, and ‘no fat yogurt’ works too.
adaptd from Roasted Butterflied Chicken @ PigPigsCorner
& Chicken al Mattone @ Bon Apetit
1 whole chicken with skin on,insides cleaned, about 1 kg
40 cloves of garlic, peeled, whole
Juice of 3-4 limes; peels reserved
Fresh Rosemary 8-10 sprigs, plus some for garnishing
Salt, pepper, red chili flakes

the chicken, ie remove the spine & breastbone so it can sit flat. Else ask the butcher to do it (which I will in future)
1st marinade : Juice of 2 limes, salt and pepper. Whisk together and rub well into chicken all over. Place in a flat dish, cling wrap & leave in fridge for an hour
2nd marinade: Mince 7 of the 40 garlic cloves, and whisk with 2 tbsps oil and 1 tbsp of finely chopped fresh rosemary. Again place, cling wrapped in fridge for 1-4 hours (You can even do this the previous night)
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Meanwhile heat a grill pan on high. Add a spoon of oil & place the chicken, skin side down, with a foil wrapped brick or heavy stone on top. Cook for 7-8 minutes till skin brown.
Line a baking /roasting pan with foil and spread the remaining rosemary, garlic & lime peels over the base. Add any veggies you may wish to serve around the edges. Top with the foil wrapped brick, or heavy stone, and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Take out pan, turn the chicken over, & bake for a further 15-20 minutes until juices run clear.
Place the whole chicken skin side down on a hot grill pan to finish it off. Drain the juices, if any, from the roasting pan, and roast the potatoes and garlic on the highest oven setting till done.
Serve the chicken in a flat dish, drizzled with a blend of olive oil, lime & chopped coriander/parsley/oregano, topped with fresh rosemary sprigs. Place the potatoes & garlic around.
Serve with a bread and green salad.


  • Ilva
    7 years ago

    Thanks Deeba for taking on the mantle of the Judge, I hope you will enjoy it!

  • Shabs..
    7 years ago

    Hi deeba,
    I always drop by ur place to see ur beautiful photographs and read ur lovely writing. I was introduced to ur place by my friend who did lot of baking from ur blog and passed on the recipe to me. Since then i used to drop at ur place almost everyday!

    I would like to know few things behind the great photographs that u do.
    1. How do u get the bright white background(See ur pic with scissors, garlic, lemon and thyme for example)? I sometimes do my pics in sunlight, but still Im not happy with it, Do u do extra lighting of some sort?
    2. Which mode do u take ur pics in?
    3. And last one, How do u avoid the reflection from the dishes?.I normally shoot by using flash, else it becomes very dark.

    I know u wud be bz, but wud appreciate if u cud answer these…SO curious…

  • Kelsey B.
    7 years ago

    I LOVE chicken w/ 40 cloves of garlic, this is a great recipe! I just printed out your chicken & ricotta lasagna, I can't wait to make it now that the weather is cooler in nyc.

  • Divya Kudua
    7 years ago

    Ummm..I'd like to know the answers for the above comments too..:)Plus one more question,if I may..which software do you use for the pics??:)

  • Gloria
    7 years ago

    Love this chicken look soooo tasty and delicious, xxGloria

  • Judy@nofearentertaining
    7 years ago

    Hehehe. That is so funny about the chicken. Chicken is eaten so regularly here that I don't even think twice about a whole bird. I love spatchcocking a chicken. It speeds up the baking and it seems to cook much easier. I love the idea of 40 cloves of garlic too!! Great job my friend!

  • Barbara Bakes
    7 years ago

    I admit to not cooking a whole chicken either and I do have one in the freezer. I don't know if I could take the spine out though! Bravo for you!

    To add to the questions above, I want to know if your family complains while they wait so you can take pictures of your beautiful food!

  • Jamie
    7 years ago

    You are too funny. But in the end the chicken looks fantastic! Wow! I am still planning on coming over to your house and visiting. But if you cook like that… the more I see the longer I'm planning on staying.

  • Bindu
    7 years ago

    Wonderful presentation and description. I had recently gone off meat but this one makes me want to cook it again!! I can smell the garlic right away

  • Lynda
    7 years ago

    Your photos are so lovely and make your chicken look amazing! It truly looks delicious!
    I cook with whole chickens much of the time because they are so economical, but I haven't tried this method yet!

  • Zaara
    7 years ago

    Funnneeee – I too don't think I'd be able to "spatchcock" – the whole spine-removing part really gives mee the heeby-jeebies. Looks like a great recipe, I'd bookmarked an Ina Garten – Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic recipe too – she swears the garlic is not at all overpowering….

  • Lori
    7 years ago

    Great ingredients for Paper Chef. Love them. And I have never seen 40 garlic chicken look so good.

  • Peggy Bourjaily
    7 years ago

    Chicken al mattone is one of my favorite meals. I've been dying to try out the Bon Appetit recipe, but this looks even better.

  • Eliana
    7 years ago

    I made a version of this recipe before but mine didn't look as good as yours.

  • Rosa's Yummy Yums
    7 years ago

    A delicious chicken dish! I love anything garlicky…



  • Anh
    7 years ago

    40 garlic clove chicken is one of my fsv dishes! Yum!

  • Lori
    7 years ago

    I have never heard of spatchcock chicken. I saw your site and then I was reading Serious Eats and behold a spatchcock chicken, done Rick Bayless style. I am so thankful for this info and link!

  • Miakoda
    7 years ago

    I googled the quote- once I got the context, I found it really funny. :D. The competition looks interesting. I'll give it a shot sometime. Lovely dish, as always.

  • Gera @ SweetsFoods
    7 years ago

    So beautiful recipe-dish… garlic and chicken yum yum 🙂
    Wow succulent and fragrant Deeba!
    Excellent job!!



  • Neus
    7 years ago

    Looks delicious. Thank you for sharing!

  • Arwen from Hoglet K
    7 years ago

    Congratulations on your first chicken. Garlic and rosemary sounds like a lovely flavour, and the ricotta bread on the side would be perfect.

  • Nicisme
    7 years ago

    So you ate 40 cloves of garlic? Err, not tonight hon, I've got this headache coming on….

  • Elra
    7 years ago

    Love this French classic specialty. Garlic and rosemary are perfect pairs.

  • Natashya KitchenPuppies
    7 years ago

    That does look so very tasty! I love, love, love chicken with garlic. And spatchcock – is there a more hilarious word in the kitchen? 🙂

  • Mallika
    7 years ago

    Dear GOD Deeba, this looks amazing. And I thought curries had too much garlic!! I think we get ready spatchcock chicken in supermarkets here, will be sure to try this.

  • Bellini Valli
    7 years ago

    The beautiful thing about making spatchcock chicken is that it cooks in half the time. Your photos make me want to head to the BBQ.

  • Helene
    7 years ago

    I've always wanted to make a 40 garlic chicken. Maybe soon because your pictures are mouthwatering.

  • bake in paris
    7 years ago

    Looks so delicious! Have to try your recipe one of these weekends. Nice pictures too 🙂


  • The Cooking Ninja
    7 years ago

    This chicken sounds delicious. 🙂 Love your blog.

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    7 years ago

    Hehe you're so funny Deeba! I cna imagine you stuffing it back into the fridge just thinking "I can't deal with this thing!". It looks wonderful though and I am a huge fan of garlic so I wonder how long it will take me to make this…

  • GarlicBOSS
    7 years ago

    Amazing site…photos, story and recipe!

  • Priti
    7 years ago

    Wow this looks so gud…lovely clicks….

  • pigpigscorner
    7 years ago

    I always get my hubs to spatchcock the chicken..hehe..you did a great job! love the charred bits! yum!

  • Dharm
    7 years ago

    FORTY Cloves of garlic?? WOW! So brave of you to spatchcock a chicken… I've cut a chicken but never ever tried to spatchcock it… It really looks delicious!

  • Michelle
    7 years ago

    Recipe sound familiar which means I've probably already tried it. Hmmmm…most try again because this look fabulous!

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Deeba,seriously will you marry me??

  • singinghorse
    7 years ago

    Hi Deeba! I have been following your blog for a few months now, and I have learned many things from reading your blog. Seeing those photos of yours always make me super hungry. As a token of appreciation, I have listed your blog as “One Lovely Blog”. When it is convenient, you can check it out here: http://singinghorse.vox.com. Thank you for everything!

  • Saee Koranne-Khandekar
    7 years ago

    That looks like a dish bursting with flavor. I've been a secret visitor to your blog–love the photography and the attention to detail. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • meeso
    7 years ago

    Oh yeah, I'm with Shabs on this one… How the heck do you do it? I can't find a good setting I'm happy with, even using editing. And boy, that chicken sounds so good my stomach just started hurting!

  • Bella
    7 years ago

    I read your entire blog this weekend to catch up on all that you've been cooking up….I don't know where to even begin to start trying some of your recipes. I think you outdo yourself each time! I won't stay away so long from now on….promise! Have a yummy day! ~ Roz

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