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Lemon, Harissa and Olive Spatchcock Chicken
Clodagh McKenna's Spatchcock Chicken and Bulgur Wheat Salad
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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3.325 (40 rated)
Cook time:
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Spatchcocking chicken is a really great way to get lots of flavors right into the chicken. The combination of the zesty lemons, sweet and smoky harissa, and earthy olive is so Mediterranean. I also use this recipe with meaty fish, like hake or cod. The bulgur wheat is so refreshing and works perfectly alongside the chicken.

Technique tip: Spatchcocking a chicken is so easy to do. You will need a sturdy pair of scissors to cut alongside the backbone of the chicken.

Swap option: You could swap out the chicken for a meaty white fish such as cod or hake. You could also swap out the bulgur wheat for couscous. If you don't want to spatchcock the chicken you could instead use chicken pieces instead (breasts, legs and thighs).


  • Chicken

    • 1 whole organic or free-range chicken, about 3 pounds
    • 2 preserved lemons, chopped
    • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
    • 1/2 cup pitted black olives, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon harissa
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Bulgur wheat salad

    • 3/4 cup bulgur wheat
    • 1/2 cup boiling water
    • 1 cucumber, diced
    • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
    • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
    • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
    • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 lemon, juiced
    • 3 cloves garlic, crushed


For the chicken:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. To spatchcock the chicken, place it breast-side down, with the legs towards you. Using sturdy scissors, cut along either side of the backbone to remove it, cutting through the rib bones as you go. Open the chicken out and turn over. Flatten the breastbone with the heel of your hand so that the meat is all one thickness. Add the preserved lemons, garlic, olives, harissa and olive oil in a bowl and mix well.

3. Place the spatchcocked chicken in a roasting tray and rub the preserved lemon and harissa mix all over the chicken. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 45 minutes or until cooked through.

For the bulgur wheat salad:

1. While the chicken is roasting, prepare the bulgur wheat salad. Place the bulgur in a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water to cover. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to soak for 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.

2. Fluff up with a fork, then stir in the cucumber, spring onions, and herbs.

3. Whisk the oil, lemon juice and garlic together in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the bulgur wheat salad and toss to coat.

To serve:

Transfer the roast spatchcocked chicken to the center of a large, warmed platter and spoon the bulgur wheat salad around the chicken to serve.

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