What’s for Dinner Tonight? Spatchcocked Chicken with Mint & Garlic

This Spatchcocked Chicken with Mint and Garlic is roasted in a cast iron pan and seasoned with mint and garlic. Such an easy way to make a glorious meal!

Spatchcocked Chicken with Mint and Garlic by FamilySpice.com

I got some new toys to play with several months ago, but never found the time to play with them. This is story of my stay-at-home-life. It’s no surprise, as a wife and mom, that I’m bottom on the family totem pole. When I was in high school, what seems like a lifetime ago, I wanted to be a photographer. Specifically, a sports photographer. These were the old days of film, LOL! I learned my way around a dark room, had my pictures photographed in the community paper. I was so proud seeing my name published under each photo. It was my high school mentorship at The Houston Chronicle where my eyes were opened by the staff photographers who took me with them, chasing down stories, from car accidents to college football games. These guys took me under their wing and gave me their sage advice: Don’t become a professional photographer.

Crazy, huh?

The life is hard and the pay sucks.

I kept photography as a hobby shortly after that.

Spatchcocked Chicken with Mint and Garlic by FamilySpice.com

And of all things, food photography is my latest poison. Photographing my kids is easy, but our dinner? With terrible light, a dark kitchen and a family eagerly waiting for their meal, I threw my hands up in defeat.

I give up! I give up!

A year ago in March I bought this umbrella light set, but never found the time to practice with it.

This past December I bought myself this 50mm lens, but never found the time to really practice with it.

I finally put my foot down this past month and spent some precious time to practice and practice. I emailed fellow food bloggers, sought advice from photography friends, and deleted hundreds of bad pictures until I got the hang of it.

At least now I’m happy with my night shots, especially my dinner shots. Not every meal can be photographed during the daylight hours.

Spatchcocked Chicken with Mint and Garlic by FamilySpice.com

My kids giggled with delight when they saw this Spatchcocked Chicken on the table with a spotlight, mirror and foam board surrounding it. Such drama at the dinner table!

Now if I can only get used to photographing with a tripod…..

Spatchcocked Chicken with Mint & Garlic

Spatchcocking is the method to butterfly a whole chicken. This helps speed up the cooking time. The lemon and mint make a terrific marinade. Recipe by Laura Bashar of Family Spice


  • 5 lb whole roasting chicken
  • 1 cup mint, fresh, loosely packed
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juice & zest
  • 5 garlic cloves


  1. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels:
    • 5 lb whole roasting chicken
  2. If the giblet and neck are in the chicken cavity, remove them and reserve for another use or discard.
  3. Place the chicken, breast side down, on a cutting board.
  4. Using poultry shears or a large, sharp knife, cut along each side of the backbone.
  5. Pull the chicken open slightly to cut the backbone out completely. Reserve for stock or discard.
  6. Turn the chicken breast side up and open it as flat as possible.
  7. Press down firmly to break the breastbone and flatten the bird.
  8. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels.
  9. In a blender pulse until emulsified.
    • 1 cup mint, fresh , loosely packed
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 lemon , juice & zest
    • 5 garlic cloves
  10. In a large nonreactive container place the butterflied chicken and cover with marinade, massaging it into the chicken and under the skin.
  11. Cover and refrigerate chicken for 4-6 hours.
  12. Remove chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to roasting.
  13. Preheat oven to 425ºF and place chicken in a roasting pan or a large cast-iron skillet, breast side up.
  14. Roast chicken for 45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh away from the bone registers 170º-175ºF. If chicken starts to burn, loosely cover with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  15. Remove from oven and let chicken sit for 5-7 minutes, then serve.

Prep Time:

Yield: Serves 4

Cook Time:

Spatchcocked Chicken with Mint & Garlic Detail

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17 Responses to What’s for Dinner Tonight? Spatchcocked Chicken with Mint & Garlic

  1. mjskit at #

    It’s so frustrating getting new toys and having no time to play! 🙂 So glad you finally got to play with your light kit. It was definitely worth it because these pictures are gorgeous! I’m jealous of your styling ability! Great setting! The chicken looks good too! 🙂

    • Laura at #

      MY STYLING ABILITY? It’s called minimalism! LOL! Thank you!

  2. Laura, these shots are amazing!!! Absolutely gorgeous and I assume you took these with the light set. WOW, it looks so natural and I loooooove the pictures! I use 50mm most of the time too and it’s been my main lens along with macro lens. I can’t believe you can take top down shot without tripod. I shake way too much I can’t take perfect shot like you did! I can imagine your kids watching you to take pictures of dinner. So cute! =) This chicken looks yum – I bet whole family enjoyed after the photo shoot!

    • Laura at #

      I should have taken a picture of my set up, but I was in a rush. I’ve got a steady hand, but I always hold my breath when I push the button! My tripod is small and won’t do the crazy angles I shoot. I think I know what my next toy will be!!

  3. Gorgeous! Sure beats my flash-in-the-kitchen attempts to photograph before we eat. I agree – I would love to have seen a picture of your set up. I’m glad you finally had a chance to test your new equipment.The results are just so cool!

    • Laura at #

      Thanks, Jeanne! I also have a speedlight flash that I’ve been using, but it doesn’t give the picture character or shadows I sometimes want to get. It covers your object nicely with light, without those pesky white spots or washing it out like a pop-up flash does. The umbrella light is cheaper than the flash and the Lowel Ego Light a lot of bloggers like to use.

  4. Sophie at #

    Dear Laura

    Congratulations for your blog!
    I’d like to talk to you about a recipe development opportunity you might be interested in.
    Please contact me so I can let you know more about it.

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
    Best regards.

  5. Pics look great! As I’ve discovered-it’s a slow curve but worth it. The styling is nice, too.

    • Laura at #

      Thanks! It is definitely a slow-learning curve!!!

  6. This chicken is amazing and I love how you prepared it – but the color is what has me staring at the photos 😉 Simply gorgeous… I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It’s a pleasure to be following your creations…

    • Laura at #

      You are so sweet! I didn’t think a simple chicken recipe would get so much attention! I’m lovin’ my new light! Thank you for featuring me today in your Friday Food Fetish roundup!

  7. What a gorgeous chicken dish…love the flavors!

    • Laura at #

      You are so sweet! Your site is so beautiful and the pictures you take are all incredibly gorgeous!!!

  8. Zainab at #

    I so feel u r talking about me here… Exactly not all dinners meals can b photographed… Its good to see u master the art… And u knw wat… I m seeking help from u now for these stunning shots!!!!!

    • Laura at #

      Don’t get me wrong. I had to set up the scene (even minimal) quickly and photograph everything just as quickly. It doesn’t happen every night. I was too tired last night to set everything up for last night’s meal!

  9. Zainab at #

    Lol!! Yea i understand….its must be hell of a task to keep away the hungry tummies while u click !!

  10. Jill at #

    Laura, this chicken looks delicious. Funny that I always spatchcock my turkey for Thanksgiving but never think to do it for a lowly chicken! I laughed reading your post, my husband has gotten accustomed to luke warm dinners due to the setting up of the light boxes and all! And I gave up on the tri-pod. Maybe I’ll try it again sometime but for now I’m working on holding really, really still!

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