Time is valuable—especially when you’re prepping camp dinner in the final hours of daylight. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick to the same few, quick-cooking dishes. This spatchcocking technique is a great one for your camp dinner rotation. It requires flattening out a whole chicken, which reduces the cooking time dramatically. Here, we serve the bird alongside ratatouille, a French Provençal vegetable dish.
In addition to saving you time, this meal is packed full of nutrients. The chicken is a wonderful source of lean protein, an essential macronutrient for putting on muscle. The ratatouille is rich in antioxidants, which are molecules that fight free radicals that can cause illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Tip: To amp up the flavor (and save yourself even more time), marinate the chicken overnight and pack it up so you’re only grilling at camp.
Grilled Spatchcock Chicken with Ratatouille
Makes 4 servings
- 1 whole chicken, about 3 to 4 pounds, patted dry
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup diced zucchini, about 1/4-inch dice
- 1 cup diced onion, about 1/4-inch dice
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Build a fire and allow the coals or embers to get hot, or heat a grill to medium.
Place the chicken on a cutting board, breast side down. With a boning knife or poultry shears, cut along the entire length of the spine, through the bone, on both sides. Discard the backbone, or freeze it to make stock. With your hands, press the chicken flat.
In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, two tablespoons of lemon juice, garlic and three tablespoons of olive oil. Stir to combine. Brush this mixture evenly over both sides of the chicken.
Next, place the chicken on the grill over medium heat, breast side down, and cover the grill. (If you’re at a campsite, you can use foil to cover the chicken.) Grill for 10 minutes, then rotate the chicken a quarter turn (or 45 degrees) and cook for another 10 minutes. This will leave a nice grill mark on the skin. Turn the chicken over and cover, letting it cook for another 20 minutes, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 165 degrees.
While the chicken is cooking, warm the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, onion, pepper and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables release their liquid and break down slightly, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are cooked through and begin sticking to the pan, about 8 minutes more.
Finally, remove the ratatouille from the heat and toss it with the remaining one teaspoon of lemon juice. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter.
When the chicken has cooked through, add it to the serving platter with the vegetables. Carve the chicken and serve.