Roast Spatchcocked Chicken and Cabbage is an easy dish you can make on a weeknight with a little forethought, but it also makes for a tasty Sunday supper. The word spatchcocked gives me the giggles, because I clearly never grew up.
I thought Sundays would make for a fine day for posts on cooking and eating, and plan on sharing recipes and other things culinary most Sundays.
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I’m no longer a picky eater, but my sense of humor clearly hasn’t matured much
As a kid, I was a seriously picky eater. Just ask my Mom. I always dreaded the annual St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage feast she would make to celebrate the anniversary of her meeting my dad at a green beer party in the early 70s. Mushy love *and* cabbage. Ew.
Much to everyone’s surprise, but especially Mom’s, I’ve become as adventurous an eater as I was a picky one as I’ve gotten older. Note that I say “older,” and not “more mature.” Alas, my sense of humor seems to be stuck in grade school, as the following will attest.
My young self would be horrified that this recipe includes cabbage, but she would giggle at the word spatchcock. Because let’s face it, spatchcock is a really funny word.
According to this article, which also gives the finer points on how to spatchcock a chicken if you’ve never done it before, while no one knows exactly where the word spatchcock came from, it’s generally assumed to have originated in eighteenth-century Ireland. I like to think of some Irish person in the 1700s, cutting up a chicken and giggling.
Spatchcock (snort) a chicken for a tasty dinner
Regardless of your maturity level, this dish makes a tasty dinner. Spatchcocked chicken cooks faster and more evenly, making this a roast chicken that’s doable on a weeknight. Chicken, garlicky, with apple cider vinegar and thyme, roasts in a cast iron skillet on a bed of cabbage, which gets a crispy on the edges and schmaltzy (so many fun words!) in the middle. If you have time to marinade it for a few hours, you’ll get an even tastier bird, but it’s not necessary.
Chicken and cabbage: a classic combination
There are a lot of recipes for roasted chicken and cabbage, but most of them call for an intact chicken. I got the idea for spatchcocking the chicken from this one from Modern Proper, but I didn’t want to use taco seasoning, so I’ve been experimenting in winter when I have both chicken and cabbage. It’s always come out tasty. Once I didn’t have cabbage, so I shaved some brussels sprouts and added dried cranberries. Yummy.
A dear friend of mine made an Alsatian chicken dish for me not too long ago (we ate on the porch), and I got interested in using cider vinegar for chicken. A few weeks ago, I had some cabbage on hand as well as a chicken and thought, cabbage goes with cider vinegar, too. I bet that chicken and cabbage dish would be really good with cider vinegar. And it was. I think you’ll like it too.
Roast Spatchcocked Chicken with Cabbage
- 1 4 lb chicken preferably organic, preferably smaller (the one I cooked for this recipe was about 4 lbs, but I try to get them closer to 3 lbs if I can)
- 3/4 head green cabbage finely chopped (not quite fully shredded). You want enough to fill your cast iron skillet about half way up
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped, more if you prefer (the cloves I used were large)
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar if you have a chicken closer to 3 lbs, cut it back to 1 1/2 tablespoons, plus a splash for the cabbage. Organic is best here; I use Bragg’s
- 1 Tbsp neutral oil plus a tiny splash for the cabbage
- 2 sprigs thyme
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- About an hour before cooking (or longer if you have time), spatchcock the chicken by cutting out the backbone with sharp kitchen shears, and then pressing on the breastbone until it flattens. It’s going to crack. The general idea is to get the backbone out and to get the chicken flat-ish in the skillet)
- Salt the chicken generously front and back, and put the chicken breast side down on your work surface
- Sprinkle most of the garlic on the back of the chicken. Drizzle with oil and the apple cider vinegar. Flip the chicken over and then over again so that the breast gets a bit of the oil and vinegar
- Add a few twists of fresh ground pepper to the breast, and sprinkle the rest of the garlic and scatter the thyme
- Let to come to room temperature (about an hour, less if your kitchen’s warm). If you have time, put the chicken in the fridge for a couple of hours and bring it out an hour before cooking
- Preheat oven to 425F
- When you’re ready to roast the chicken, finely chop your cabbage. Eyeball your cast-iron skillet for how much. You want enough to fill it up at least half way, but not so much that you can’t fit your chicken! It will cook way down as it roasts
- Add the cabbage to the your skillet. Drizzle with a tiny amount of oil (the beauty of this method is that the chicken fat is going to make that cabbage awesome, but the oil will keep the outer edges from burning to unpleasantness), and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Give it a little stir. I generally find salt unnecessary, but you can sprinkle a little and add a few twists of pepper
- Place the chicken, breast side up on top of the cabbage and put the skillet in the oven
- Cook until the chicken reaches 165F. It should take about an hour, depending upon the size of your chicken, but I’d start checking it 35 minutes in to make sure that you don’t need to stir the cabbage or turn the skillet to promote even cooking (generally not)
- Let the chicken rest for about ten minutes before cutting it.
- Serve on top of the cabbage. Try to remember your dignity and not giggle about the word spatchcock