Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes
1 (3½-4 lb/1½ - 2kg) whole chicken
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Drizzle of olive oil for the pan plus some to coat the chicken
¼ - ½ cup pesto
1. Heat oven to 500°F/260°C with rack in middle.
2. To “spatchcock” a chicken: lay the bird on the breast (back up) and cut out the spine from neck to tail, using kitchen shears. Lay the bird breast up and press down on the breast bone to break it and flatten the chicken more evenly. You might even want to cut out the top of the breast bone, leaving the skin and meat intact.
3. Rinse the chicken under cool water, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Turn the skin side up and gently slip your fingers under the skin from the neck and form a pocket as far as you can. Stuff with pesto and spread evenly under the skin. Repeat for the thigh starting from close to where the backbone used to be.
4. Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan. Add the sliced onions & lemon down the centre forming a bed for the chicken. Place the chicken, skin side up over top and drizzle a little more oil over the skin.
Note: I place the backbone in as well so that I can save all the roasted chicken bones in the freezer for future stock making.
5. Roast at 500°F/260°C for about 35 minutes & test with a meat thermometer. The chicken is ready when the thigh registers 170-180°F/76-80°C.