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Roast spatchcock with chillies and smoky migas

Updated: Mar 22

A spatchcock chicken is cut from the belly side up to the neck and left whole. This is one of the best ways to cut the chicken, especially for roasting, as it cooks more evenly, with the breast meat and thighs finishing at the same time. Also, the cooking time is lessened by as much as 25%.

Migas is a fried Spanish and Portuguese bread dish with paprika. It is a simple preparation and adds lots of flavour. The perfect migas is crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.

This is a lovely dish with diverse flavours that come together beautifully. The chicken is infused with marinade and is spicy and moist. The dressing brings the dish together, and the migas add that additional pop of flavour. This is a hearty dish that makes for a lovely main course.

This recipe is from Diana Henry, one of my favourite chefs. I have every one of her cookbooks; they are my go-to books for every occasion, from fun salads like this one to more elaborate cooking from around the world. Everyone should have all her cookbooks.

For more recipes from this book, click here.


For the marinade:

1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems

1/4 cup parsley

5 garlic cloves

2-5 red chillies, seeded for a milder sauce

Juice of 2 limes

Salt, to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

3-4 tablespoons water

1 large chicken, skin on, spatchcock cut

For the migas:

2 tablespoons oil

1/2 country bread or sourdough bread, torn into large chunks

1/2 cup milk

Salt, to taste

1 1/2 -2 teaspoons sweet or spicy smoked paprika

For the dressing:

1 tablespoon oil

Remaining marinade, if any

Chicken drippings

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon sherry wine

Add all the ingredients for the marinade to a small blender and blitz to a smooth sauce.

For the chicken, make pockets under the skin on both sides. Spoon the marinade into the pockets and spread it onto the meat. Pour the remaining marinade into the cavity of the chicken and marinate for at least 4 hours, but overnight is always preferred.

Preheat the oven to 400 ° C. Place a second tray filled with an inch of water on the lowest rack. After the marination, lay the chicken with the breast side up and roast for 45 minutes. Check that the chicken is done by pushing a skewer through the thickest part of the breast; the juices should be clear. Tent the chicken and keep warm.

While the chicken is cooking, make the migas. Soak the bread in milk, salt, and paprika for 30 minutes until soft. Make sure to immerse the crusty parts in the milk.

After 30 minutes, add the oil to a large frying pan. Squeeze out as much milk as possible from the bread and add to the pan. When all the bread is added, turn the heat up to medium-high and pat it down to flatten it on the pan. Fry for 2-3 minutes till you smell the bread toasting well. Flip the bread over, it is okay if it breaks up, Fryy for another 2-3 minutes till the second side is also crisp. Serve immediately with the chicken. If the migas have been made ahead, you can make it crisp again by refrying it on the pan.

Add the oil to a small pot and the remaining marinade for the dressing. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the vinegar and sherry and simmer for 1 minute. Pour the dripping, it will be very little, dripping from the roasting pan and cook for 1 minute.

To serve, cut the chicken into bits and lay it on a wide platter. You can add the migas over or around the chicken. Drizzle over the dressing on the chicken and migas. Serve immediately.

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