Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lemon Gratin & Baked Thyme Spatchcocks

This recipe is so satisfying to make on a rainy day. Rich, but with a nice citrus bite to keep you awake and wanting for more. And, you actually eat the baked lemon slices rind and all, they're really great. Ok, you're wondering what 'spatchcocks' are, right? They're teenage chickens(small), ask your butcher he should be able to tell you or he'll think you're rude either one. Or you can just substitute a bone in, skin on chicken breast. I highly suggest that you buy organic chicken (not just because I'm a hippie), they taste better, hands down.

1 kg sebago(starchy) potatoes, slice very thin, 1/8 inch
1 lemon sliced 1/8 inch, cut each slice in quarters and cut the pith off + remove seeds
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
sea salt & cracked black pepper
1 1/2 c single cream
4 x 500g spatchcocks or 4 bone in chicken breasts
1 bunch lemon thyme (or regular thyme if that's all you can find), soak in olive oil
olive oil
32 pearl onions, peeled

Preheat oven to 390F.
Layer potato and lemon slices on the bottom of a greased 1.25 litre baking dish, (just make sure the cream is just nearly covering the potatoes). Sprinkle with salt and pepper, pour the cream over everything. Bake for 15 min till the potatoes are just tender when tested with a fork.

Tie the Spatchcock legs together with cooking string and secure lemon thyme to the legs with more string. Rub birds with olive oil and salt. If you are using chicken breasts instead just push the thyme up under the skin leaving a bit sticking out for presentation, then oil the birds.

Place birds on top of potatoes, throw the pearl onions in and continue cooking for 30 min. till the birds are browned. You can use an oven thermometer to check that the chicken is done or do the unthinkable and cut into the meat to check that it's not pink. Do not overcook your chicken, this is the most important key. It shouldn't be pink, but it should still be nice and juicy.

Serve chicken on top of a layer of gratin and garnish with a beet roasted in balsamic vinegar if you're feeling fancy.

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