Cook the Book Fridays – Poulet Crapaudine

Spatchcocked chicken

This chicken took a circuitous route into my kitchen. I don’t cook a lot of meat at home, to spare the vegan and because I’ve always been comfortable with a mostly vegetarian diet. So, when this dish came up in the rotation for Cook the Book Fridays, I decided to hand off the cooking to my parents. They have some beautiful chickens in their freezer that they got from a friend’s farm. This recipe adapts perfectly to the barbecue, which they’ve already got fired up for the summer season. I thought I’d send my mother home with the harissa paste in my freezer and enjoy this dish vicariously through their photos and descriptions.

But things didn’t go as planned. First, I completely forgot about the harissa paste, so my mother settled on sambal oelek instead. My brother spatchcocked the chicken for her and she put together the marinade, bagged the chicken, and refrigerated it.

Spatchcocking and marinating the chicken

And then she remembered she was going away to a conference, so she brought the chicken over to me. It needed another day in the refrigerator, which brings us to today. I put it into my Dutch oven, weighed it down with some Corningware, and cooked it on the stovetop. I lost some of the skin, but it worked rather well. Then, I transferred it to the oven, where it took about half an hour to finish. I was happy with how it turned out in the Dutch oven, but I think I’ve got to invest in a larger cast iron frying pan. I think it would have been easier to work with and the chicken wouldn’t have taken quite so long to finish.

The results were tender and juicy, a little spicy, and very flavourful. I only had a taste tonight, but I’m looking forward to having some more tomorrow, with coleslaw and roasted potatoes. The rest is going into the freezer, so that it can travel back to my parents’ house. It wouldn’t be right to exclude them from enjoying this chicken, would it?

I’ve titled this post Poulet Crapaudine, which is French for spatchcocked chicken, but David Lebovitz calls it Chicken Lady Chicken, in honour of the woman who inspired the recipe. I hope if you try this dish, your chicken doesn’t have to commute quite as much as mine did.

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