Whether for a weeknight meal with a touch of elegance or to bring a little wow factor to a dinner party, this chicken roasted over bread is perfection. The bread absorbs the chicken juices as it roasts, creating bread pieces that are golden crispy on one side and soaked with chicken deliciousness on the other.
Removing the backbone from the chicken via kitchen shears is the most difficult part of this recipe. But after you do it once, you’ll be a pro. And it’s worth it to have the chicken lie flat over the bread, to better infuse it with all those chicken drippings. Serve roasted chicken over a bed of greens, if desired.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.2.
Line a medium-sized baking sheet with foil. Place the bread slices onto the baking sheet in one layer. Scatter both the thyme and garlic cloves over the bread.3.
Place the chicken onto a cutting board breast-side-down. Using kitchen shears, cut down each side of the back bone to remove it, discarding the back bone. Open the chicken almost like a book, pressing down on the chicken to flatten it out the best you can.4.
Place the spatchcocked chicken (skin-side-up) directly on top of the bread pieces. Depending on the size of the chicken, the entire chicken may not cover over all of the bread – just pile the bread to get the majority of it under the chicken, even if it’s in two layers. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken and then generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. If desired, add lemon slices on top of the chicken.5.
Roast the chicken in the preheated oven until skin is golden and juices from the chicken run clear, , about 1 hour and 15 minutes, with the chicken thigh or leg registering 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer. Remove baking sheet from the oven and let chicken rest for about 10 minutes.6.
Transfer chicken to a platter to serve. Turn the bread pieces over to their more-golden and crisp side. Place on a plate to serve alongside the bread.