It’s that time of the year again. My Pinterest feed is full of Thanksgiving and holiday ideas and recipes. I’ve read that a turkey roast is expected of any Thanksgiving meal. However, it still baffles me how anyone can get a Thanksgiving feast done on time as it takes days to defrost that giant bird and another few hours to brine and roast it. Such a gargantuan task!
Though I’m not familiar with the American tradition of Thanksgiving and am very afraid of roasting an entire turkey, I’d still like to share in the tradition of feasting. And so I share with you my not-so-traditional mini-feast for two (because my oven isn’t large enough for a turkey) – Butterflied Roast Chicken with a Spiced Butter Rub and Sweet Potato Mash with Crispy Onions. It doesn’t take hours to defrost, brine and roast but it does feed a couple or three persons well. Butterflied chicken roasts much faster than a whole chicken and so this is also a perfect weeknight meal as it does not need much preparation nor constant checking.
The high roasting temperature for the first twenty minutes creates a crisp skin. Flavouring the chicken with a spiced butter rub lends a mild curry flavour to chicken and keeps the chicken juicy. The naturally sweet mash compliments the spice notes of the roast chicken and is such a cinch to make. If pressed for time, you could leave out the garnish but if you’re trying to impress your guests then go all out! I love the taste, texture and colour the crisp onions, chillies and curry leaves add to the dishes and yes, curry leaves are edible.
You may use a whole chicken instead but just make a little more of the spice rub for the chicken cavity. If you’re afraid of setting off your smoke alarm ( as mine went off) dump a big scoop of salt crystals beneath your roasting rack to prevent the smoke. The overnight air drying in the fridge and placing the chicken on a roasting rack makes for crispier chicken. If you do not have a roasting rack, place the chicken over some large chunks of carrots and potatoes so that the meat juices drip off. You could buy an already butterflied chicken or just use your kitchen shears to cut off the backbone. There’s no gravy for this roast but I reckon some cranberry jam would be pretty delicious with the curry flavours.
Now, who’s with me for feasting on this crisp, juicy butterflied roast chicken and wonderfully smooth sweet potato mash?
Butterflied Roasted Chicken with Spiced Butter Rub
- 1 kg roasting chicken, butterflied
- 90-100g ghee/unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp madras curry powder/meat curry powder
- 1 tsp onion powder (optional)
- 1 large garlic clove, minced / 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- For an extra crisp skin, pat dry and lightly salt a butterflied chicken and then, air dry in your refrigerator without any plastic wrap/foil for at least 4 hours or overnight. This is of course optional.
- Remove chicken from fridge and let it come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F. Pat dry chicken skin.
- Soften butter/ ghee and mix curry powder and sea salt with butter/ghee until evenly mixed. Set aside the spiced butter rub.
- Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the entire breast meat without tearing the skin. Spread about half of butter/ghee and curry powder mix evenly under skin. The easiest way is to push a lump of butter under the skin and smoothen it out with your hands by pressing lightly over the skin. Spread half of the remaining spiced butter rub over the rest of the chicken.
- Sprinkle some sea salt over chicken and roast in oven for 20 minutes
- Using a brush or the back of a spoon, spread the remaining spiced butter rub over the chicken while it is roasting.
- Reduce oven temperature to 180°C/350°F and continue to roast chicken till cooked thoroughly, about 20-25 more minutes.
- To check for doneness, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh meat, not touching the bone, and the meat juices should run clear or your meat thermometer should read close to 75°C/165°F.
- If your chicken is still not crisp, increase your oven temperature and broil it on the highest rack for about 5 minutes. Keep a watchful eye on it as it may overcook or burn quickly.
- Remove the chicken from the oven when it is almost done and leave it to rest for 20 minutes to continue cooking.
- Top of crispy onions, chillies and curry leaves and serve with sweet potato mash.
Sweet Potato Mash with Crispy Onions
- 800-900g garnet, orange sweet potato
- salt to taste
- large red onion, thinly sliced
- fresh red chilli, thinly sliced diagonally
- 1-2 stems curry leaves
- Boil sweet potato in a large pot of water until you’re able to easily pierce the thickest parts of the root with a fork/skewer.
- Drain and set aside to cool.
- When is cool enough to handle but still warm, remove the skin. They should easily tear off when fully cooked.
- Immediately mash the peeled sweet potato and add spoonfuls of ghee or butter and salt. The residual heat from the sweet potatoes should melt the butter/ghee and the mixture should be smooth and lump free.
- For the garnish, in medium fry pan, fry the sliced onions in ghee/butter over a low flame. Once they start browning, immediately remove with slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
- For the red chillies, fry till they start wrinkling and remove immediately. For the curry leaves, fry in the same pan till the leaf edges start to curl. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
- Top sweet potato mash and butterflied roast chicken with fried onions, chillies and curry leaves. Drizzle some of ghee/butter used for frying over the chicken and sweet potato mash just before serving.