Dinner & A Dance Party Friday: Chicken

Chicken is a bit of a blind spot for me. I never ever order it when I go out to eat and I rarely used to turn to it for dinner inspiration. That has changed in the past year after I started teaching more recreational culinary classes. Evidently, everyone else is just as fed up with their chicken ideas, too and are desperate for some new ones. It is my most requested menu item when building class ideas.

 Honey bourbon glazed chicken with smashed sweet potatoes, charred leeks, meyer lemon.

Honey bourbon glazed chicken with smashed sweet potatoes, charred leeks, meyer lemon.

As the fab Cab Calloway song here tells us, a chicken is just a bird. But all birds are not created equal. I make the effort to seek out antibiotic free, organic or pastured options. Even when paying a premium for a bird that lived a better life, chicken is still an affordable protein compared to other options. Especially if you buy a whole bird.

This week I wanted to test a honey bourbon glaze for an upcoming Southern themed class. I mixed up bourbon, honey, molasses and mustard and set it aside. Then I spatchcocked the chicken. You did what? I simply made two cuts and removed the back from a whole chicken. By flattening out the bird on a sheet pan, there was much more surface to spread the glaze and it reduced the cooking time.

Pro tip: Instead of discarding the back, I roasted it right on the same pan without the glaze. I added it to my ever growing bag in the freezer of odds and ends to make stock with in the future.

 Spatchcock a chicken to reduce cooking time and make sure every bite is flavor packed.

Spatchcock a chicken to reduce cooking time and make sure every bite is flavor packed.

While I was prepping the chicken and sauce, I roasted the last leeks from our garden until they charred up slightly and set them aside. Smashed sweet potatoes on the side kept the meal seasonal and homey - my top priorities.

One bite made me want to do a happy little dance. Funky chicken, anyone?