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LivingFood and DrinkOliver’s Chicken

Oliver’s Chicken

by Susan Hanna

This recipe from Stacie Billis uses two great techniques for cooking a whole chicken quickly and ensuring the meat is moist and well seasoned. The first is to butterfly or spatchcock the chicken, which means removing the backbone and flattening the bird. The second is to sprinkle the chicken with salt and keep it uncovered in the fridge for up to a day before cooking, although even a few hours will make a difference. This recipe is a one-pot meal – the chicken roasts with potatoes and then olives and artichokes are added for a few minutes at the end of the cooking time. It’s named after Billis’s son, Oliver. Cook’s note: I didn’t cut the potatoes in half, because they were small.

Serves 4

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice and make sure the artichokes and olives do not contain preservatives. Check the label for the garlic powder to make sure it does not contain colour or anti-caking agents. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.


  • 1 whole (3 to 4 pounds/1.36 to 1.8 kg) chicken, butterflied
  • 1 ½ pounds (680 g) new potatoes,
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt (5 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml)  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 ounce/396 g) can artichoke bottoms, drained and quartered
  • 1 cup (250 ml) small, pitted green olives


  1. If you have time, remove the chicken from your refrigerator up to 1 hour before cooking. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425°F (200°C) and prep the potatoes: Cut the potatoes in half. Add them to a medium bowl with the oil, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the garlic powder. Toss to coat well and transfer to a shallow roasting pan or a large sheet pan. Set the bowl, which should still have a little bit of the oil–lemon juice mixture at the bottom, aside.
  2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, and season it with the remaining 2 teaspoons salt (if you have dry-brined the chicken, don’t add more salt at this point) and the pepper, dividing them evenly between both sides of the chicken. Nestle the chicken skin side up between all of the potatoes on the roasting pan, making sure that the potatoes remain in a single layer and that none get stuck under the bird. Pour the remaining oil–lemon juice mixture from the bowl onto the chicken and rub it into the skin.
  3. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, basting the chicken with drippings and shaking the potatoes every 10 minutes or so. If at any point there aren’t enough drippings to baste the bird, drizzle a small amount of oil onto the chicken and use that. After 30 minutes, baste the chicken with the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add the artichoke bottoms and olives to the pan, scattering them all around the bird. Cook for another 5 minutes before checking for doneness: an instant-read thermometer should register 160°F (70°C) at the thickest part of the breast and 165°F (75°C) at the thigh. If the chicken is not cooked through, roast for 5 to 10 minutes longer until it is.
  4. Allow the chicken to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

From Stacie Billis




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