Blackened spatchcock chicken by Sabrina Ghayour (Feasts)

Now three books in and in no sign of slowing down. The wonderful Sabrina Ghayour has published three essential books in the last few years. Feasts is her latest Middle Eastern inspired cookbook. Scanning the book, it was hard to decide what to cook first. I haven’t been to the Turkish supermarket in a while so lots of my store cupboard is running low. Add to that, this is a particularly tight month financially after a busy summer finished with an ill-advised splurge on chandelier for the living room (M&S’ Mila if you were interested ha). Inspired by some Instagram posts from other foodie types, a Blackened Spatchcock Chicken was settled on from .

After eventually agreeing to the other half setting up the IMac on the kitchen counter, I was able to copy some keen youtuber spatchcocking their chickens in High Def. This was the first useful thing I’ve done on the computer, usually resigned to catching up on Celeb Masterchef and watching music videos from 2005. It’s no longer just a glorified TV!

The cock was spatched to perfection. Ahem.

Blackened Spatchcock Chicken Sabrina Ghayour Feasts
What a sassy blackened spatchcock chicken. It really is this charred in the book.

The newly spatchcocked chicken settled into a strange cross legged pose in all it’s naked glory. The marinade looks a little bit daunting but most of the ingredients are your typical storecupboard spices. Cumin, coriander, olive oil, lemon juice n’ zest et cetera. I’d also add that most people buying the third book by Sabrina Ghayour (the don of Middle Eastern cooking) would have pul biber and cardamom in their pantries. If not, just pop to your local Turkish or Middle Eastern supermarket – all cities and most towns will have them. They are full to the brim with all manner of gastronomic delights, but without the ‘Speciality Section’ premium.

The marinade time was reassuringly vague. ‘Between 30mins or overnight’, so it doesn’t matter if you leave it your prep a little last minute. My own procrastination gave an unexpected 7 hour marinade, by which point the spatchcocked chicken’s spicy perfume had smothered everything in my fridge. Cling film is your friend, use it here. The chicken itself takes only 45 mins in a hot oven. I greedily bought a giant chook, but 60 minutes was all it needed to cook through. At half the cooking time of an in-tact chicken, spatchcocking is a really underrated kitchen technique. The butchery isn’t difficult and there’s a certain gruesome satisfaction to it.

Blackened Spatchcock Chicken Sabrina Ghayour Feasts
Portioned off a blackened leg and served with some subtly spiced couscous.

Was it tasty?

Yes it was. It may be a blackened spatchcock chicken, yet the flavours are anything but acrid. There’s a delicious musky depth to the heavy use of cumin and cardamom. It also felt, dare I say, quite healthy. While the meat was juicy, it wasn’t sodden from the (delicious) butter basting like my normal roast chicken. I made some easy couscous to accompany it. First toasting a cup of uncooked couscous in butter with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and ginger, before adding a cup of stock and leaving for ten minutes to plump up. Some pomegranate seeds complimented the cinnamon and the sweetness countered the faintly charred taste of the chicken.

I will definitely add this recipe to the repertoire. Quick to prep (a relaxed ten minutes) and straighforward to cook (45-60 minutes of passive cooking), the blackened spatchcock chicken makes for impressive n’ easy cooking. I’ve smugly enjoyed my leftovers for lunch today and will enjoy whatever chicken scraps are left in a sarnie tomorrow (with some sweet potato mayo). More importantly, this bodes well for the rest of Feasts. Thank you Ms. Ghayour!

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