Grilled spring chicken with roasted squash and salsa verde

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online


Spring chickens or poussin are a perfect meal for one person, and all the flesh has a delicious flavour ­ probably because the meat is so close to the bone. If you don't want to tackle the spatchcocking, buy them from a butcher and he should oblige. The salsa verde adds a little sharpness to the oiliness of the chicken and the soft texture of the squash.

4 spring chickens
1 medium-sized butternut squash, weighing about 800g-1kg, peeled and seeds removed
1 acorn squash weighing about 500g, halved and seeded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for cooking

for the salsa verde
20g mint leaves
20g parsley leaves
20g green basil leaves
30g capers, washed
100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
2tsp Dijon mustard
6-8 anchovy fillets (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/430°F/ Gas mark 7.

First make the salsa verde. Blend all the ingredients in a liquidiser to a course purée and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. You may need to add a little more olive oil to bind the herbs.

Cut the acorn squash into wedges and the butternut squash into similar sized chunks. Heat a roasting tray in the oven with a little olive oil, season the pieces of squash and roast for about 30 minutes until lightly coloured and cooked through.

Meanwhile lay a spring chicken on a chopping board with the breasts facing up. Take a heavy chopping knife and insert the point into the open cavity of the bird. Cut along the backbone, then open it up and flatten out the chicken with your hands. With the point of the knife carefully remove the breast bones from underneath, and discard. Cut away any excess bone either side of where you made the first cut. Cut the knuckles from the drumstick and trim the pointy ends of the wing bones. Make 2 holes through the breasts nearest the drumstick end and push the trimmed end of the drumstick through the holes. Flatten the bird a little with your hand. Repeat with the other 3 birds.

On a ribbed griddle pan or under a hot grill, season and cook the spring chickens for 8-10 minutes on each side. Test the leg joint with the point of a knife to ensure they are cooked.

Serve the chickens with some of the squash spooned on to the plate together with a spoonful of the salsa.

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