Flat Roast Chicken with Tiny Potatoes

So…I spatchcocked my first chicken a couple of months ago.  Oh God I know that sounds horrific if you’ve never heard the term before but in no uncertain terms, I flattened a chicken.  And honestly, it was way more difficult that I thought it was going to be.  Up until now, when I’ve wanted to grill a whole chicken, I’ve had the butcher do the hard work and not only take out the backbone, like I did here for this recipe, but bone the whole chicken as well.  (Or is it de-bone?  I know it’s not [ahem], de-thaw, but how does it work with bones?)

ANYwhooo…when I mentioned this on Facebook the night that I made this flat roasted chicken with teeny tiny potatoes, some of you said you spatchcock on a regular basis.  Guys, maybe it’s because this was my first time, but it took me nearly 15 minutes to cut out the backbone.  Is this normal??  Do I need a sharper pair of kitchen shears?

In any event, once I got the chicken butterflied, this recipe was smooth-sailing.  You’ll season the chicken with salt and pepper, lay the chicken out in a roasting pan, then toss some potatoes (and whatever other veggies you have hanging out in the fridge) with melted butter around the chicken.  As the chicken cooks, the juices flavor the potatoes and you’ve got yourself a classic French street food dinner in one pan, in perhaps a little over an hour.  Because the chicken is flattened out, it takes a little less time to cook than a fat, round chicken does, and if I’m able to manage roast chicken on a weeknight, I’m a happy, happy woman!

Flat Roast Chicken with Tiny Potatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes


  • One 3 to 3 1/2 lb whole chicken
  • Table salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs fingerling, tiny yellow, or baby red potatoes
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 lemon
  • Fresh herbs for finishing like thyme, parsley, or rosemary


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Using a sharp pair of kitchen shears, cut out the backbone of the chicken. If you've never done this before, flip the bird so it is breast-side-down and from the neck cavity, cut along one side of the backbone. This is going to take some muscle so be prepared. Then cut along the other side and snip off the backbone. Either discard or freeze it to use for chicken stock at a later time. If you can't bring yourself to try this - though I suggest you do! - have your butcher do this for you.
  3. Flatten out the chicken and sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Lay the bird breast-side-up in the roasting pan. Nestle the potatoes around the outside of the chicken, squeezing them all into the pan and perhaps slightly underneath the chicken if need-be. Drizzle the potatoes with the butter and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast the chicken for 40-45 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken (when you stick the meat thermometer into the thigh) is 165 degrees F. It's always a good idea to check the temperature of a whole chicken no matter how long you cook it for - they can be tricky sometimes.
  5. Once the chicken is finished, transfer it from the pan to a carving board. Cut off the chicken pieces and arrange them with the potatoes on a large serving platter. Squeeze a bit of lemon over the chicken and sprinkle with the fresh herbs. Serve hot.


source: adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman