an exclusive article from Laurie Burrows Grad, grandmother extraordinaire…*

A delicious recipe that says: ‘happy first day of spring’!

The key to this dish is to have the butcher cut out the backbone of the chicken to “butterfly” it.  To butterfly a whole chicken means to remove the chicken’s backbone so you can open the chicken like a book, or a butterfly, and lay it flat – another term also used is to ‘spatchcock’. This is a basic recipe.  If you would like to embellish it with rosemary or other herbs, feel free!

Cook’s note: if you have a convection oven, cook the chicken at 450ºF for 45-50 minutes.  If cooking the chicken in a regular oven, roast it at 500ºF for 45 to 50 minutes.  Make sure your oven is calibrated correctly.

This recipe serves 4.

3           lemons zested
1/3       cup chopped tarragon
4          cloves garlic
¼          cup extra-virgin olive oil
1          large roasting chicken, butterflied
2          large lemons, sliced thinly
Olive oil
Seasoning salt and pepper to taste
12        small new potatoes, sliced in half
8          peeled shallots, sliced in half or small onions, peeled
3          carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks (or use the baby carrots with stems)

  1. The day before, place the lemon zest, tarragon, and minced garlic in a resealable bag that will hold the chicken. Add the olive oil and with your hands, massage the marinade into the chicken.  Refrigerate overnight turning occasionally.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450ºF for convection or 500ºF for standard oven.
  3. Place a layer of the sliced lemons in the center of a roasting pan.
  4. Place the cut potatoes, shallots, and carrots around the sides of the pan and coat them with olive oil cooking spray. Season the vegetables and lemon with the seasoning salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove the chicken from the bag and place on top of the lemons and vegetables, splayed out. Season with seasoning salt and pepper and spray with olive oil.
  6. Place in the preheated oven and cook according to directions above.
  7. Remove and carve and serve alongside the potatoes, shallots, and carrots.



*After losing Peter, her husband of forty-seven years, Laurie Burrows Grad began blogging about grief, widowhood, and survival. She has published over 130 blogs about grief as a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and Thrive Global.  Her website has helped widows all over the globe. Grad is a cookbook author and television chef by profession as well as the author of THE JOKE’S OVER, YOU CAN COME BACK NOW: How This Widow Plowed Through Grief and Survived. Laurie is the proud grandmother of two grandchildren, ages 12 and 16.