Chicken Roasted with Gin and Juniper

Spatchcocking chicken is my favorite way to speed up the roasting of a whole chicken without sacrificing the “ohs” and “ahs” of presentation that is lost when you serve a disembodied breast or thigh. Flattening the bird makes the whole thing cook at the same rate, unlike when it kept whole and the breast meat is done before the hip joint is even warm.

To spatchcock, simply cut the backbone out of the chicken (be sure to save it for your stock pot), flip the bird over and press down on the breastbone to flatten. I like to pretend that I’m giving the chicken CPR until it is lying quite flat. There are loads of YouTube videos too if you want more visual instruction.

This recipe is a jumping off point. Play with the alcohol and spices to suit your tastes. And this as a main course will go with any of your favorite side dishes—wild rice, pasta or boiled potatoes; green salad and roasted carrots. Really just look in your fridge and use up what’s there to serve on the side.

  • 1 chicken, about 3 lbs
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 T all purpose flour
  • ½ C gin
  • 1 C chicken stock or water
  • 6 juniper berries, smashed
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Oven to 350F
  2. Season the whole bird liberally with salt and pepper
  3. Heat an ovenproof frying pan that will hold the whole flattened bird
  4. Heat a glug of neutral oil and brown the breast side of the chicken until dark and golden
  5. Remove the bird from the pan
  6. Add the juniper and herbs and allow to fry in the chicken fat for a couple of minutes or until very fragrant
  7. Add the onions and garlic and sweat until tender (a little browning is good but don’t burn the garlic)
  8. Add the flour and stir to combine
  9. Add the Gin and reduce by half
  10. Add the stock and bring to a boil
  11. Lay the chicken over the onion mixture and transfer to the oven
  12. Cook until the chicken is cooked through
  13. When done, remove the bird and boil the sauce until thickened and tasty, adding salt and pepper as needed

This recipe is featured in the post:

Chicken