Clodagh's Spring Herb Spatchcock Chicken on Fennel

Clodagh's Spring Herb Spatchcock Chicken on Fennel

It’s so easy to spatchcock a chicken, but if it seems complicated then ask your butcher to do it; alternatively roast as normal but increase the cooking time by double. That is the great thing about spatchcock chicken it cooks much faster. Getting the herbed butter up under the skin of the chicken gets all the flavour into the meat. You can also add one teaspoon of Dijon mustard and honey to the herbed butter for sweet peppery flavour. You can prep the chicken, including adding the herbed butter the night before and prepping the fennel.

Created By: Clodagh McKenna

Preparation time 50 mins | Total Time 95 mins | Serves 4


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 100g salted Irish butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons fresh spring herbs (flat leaf parsley, tarragon, garlic leaves if available), finely chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 4 whole fennel bulbs, cut in half, lengthways
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Pre-head the oven to 190°C / Gas 5.
  2. To spatchcock the chicken place the whole chicken breast-side down, with the legs towards you. Using sturdy scissors cut up along each 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. You can ask your butcher to do this for you if you want.
  3. Next make a spring herbed butter, by placing the softened butter in a bowl and mix in the chopped spring herbs, juice and zest of one lemon and the crushed garlic cloves. I find it easiest to use the back of a spoon to mix all the ingredients together.
  4. Use your fingers to gently separate the skin of the chicken from the breast and thigh meat to create pockets. Spoon half of the flavoured butter underneath the skin of the chicken breast and wings, and over the skin of the chicken. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Place the remaining half of the butter in a saucepan over a low heat to melt. Then toss the halved fennel bulbs in the melted herbed butter, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Arrange the fennel bulbs on a baking sheet or roasting tin. Place the spatchcock chicken on top of the fennel, and into the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes.
  7. Once the chicken is cooked, spoon the juices from the pan over the chicken and fennel until all the juices in the pan (or most of them) have been absorbed.