Recipe: Butterflied Chicken with Barbecued Bread, Red Pepper & Red Onion Salad

Ease into the evening with roast chicken tossed with hearty veg and crusty sourdough.

Recipe: Ruth Pretty  Photos and styling: Carolyn Robertson


Serves: 4 to 6 people as a main course

For the chicken:
1.8kg (size 18) butterflied chicken, preferably fresh rather than frozen
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ teaspoons flaky sea salt

For the salad:
½ loaf day-old sourdough bread, crusts removed and torn into uneven pieces
½ cup olive oil
2 large red peppers, halved, ribs and seeds removed
2 medium red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
3 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
½ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
12 to 15 large basil leaves, torn


Heat a barbecue flat plate or grill plate on the stove top to medium-hot. Rub the outside of the butterflied chicken with 2 tablespoons olive oil and place skin-side down on the heated plate and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the skin is dark golden.

Turn chicken over and cook for a further 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and cover the chicken with barbecue lid or an upturned deep roasting tray.

Cook for a further 15 minutes, or until juices run clear when the chicken is pierced. Remove chicken from the barbecue to a roasting tray. Cover with foil and leave to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

While the chicken is resting, toss the bread together with half the remaining oil. In a separate bowl, mix the peppers and red onions with the rest of the oil. Heat the barbecue or grill plate to medium-hot and cook bread on all sides until crisp and golden brown. Remove to a bowl.

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Cook the red peppers and red onions on the hot plate for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the heat and add to the bread, along with the onions, vinegar, paprika and salt. Gently toss together.

Chop the chicken into 8 to 10 portions and arrange on a platter with the Barbecued Sourdough, Red Pepper & Red Onion Salad. Pour any remaining chicken juices over salad. Sprinkle with basil and serve.


Wash the chicken inside and out in cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels and place the bird on a clean board, breast side down.

Using poultry shears or kitchen scissors, cut down one side of the backbone, as close to the bone as possible. Open out chicken as much as possible and place onto a flat surface with skin-side up.

Using the heel of a hand, press down firmly to break the breastbone, collar bones, rib cage and wishbone.  Remove backbone with poultry shears or kitchen scissors and discard or use for stock.

Recipe: Bellini 

This delicious cocktail, invented in Harry’s Bar in Venice, is named after the 15th-century Venetian artist, Giovanni Bellini. For each person, pour 25ml frozen white peach purée (defrosted and chilled) or 25ml Santa Vittoria Peach Nectar into a glass. Top with 100ml chilled prosecco and stir gently to create a froth on top. Santa Vittoria Peach Nectar is available from specialist food stores.


Recipe: Ruth Pretty’s Roasted Turkey with Red Rice Stuffing & Orange Gravy

Recipe: Ruth Pretty’s Braised Lamb Shoulder with Beetroot Sauce

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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