Spatchcocked chicken with a coriander and pumpkin seed salsa

Thomasina Miers shows a simple, speedy way to cook a whole chicken in this fragrant, Mexican-inspired recipe
By Thomasina Miers
Spatchcocked chicken with a coriander and pumpkin seed salsa
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 1 medium chicken
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped marjoram leaves
  • 1 lemon, grated zest only
  • watercress and baby gem salad

For the pumpkin seed salsa

  • 60 g pumpkin seeds
  • 2 dried chilli de arbol, finely chopped
  • ½ scotch bonnet peppers, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and bruised
  • large handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 150 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 limes, juice only
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 20 g pecorino cheese, grated


1. Spatchcock the chicken by using sturdy scissors (meat scissors are designed for this job) to remove the backbone by cutting all along the length of it on both sides. Place the bird cut side down on a chopping board and press down onto the breastbone sharply and firmly so that the chicken flattens out. Season both sides well with salt and pepper.

2. Lightly toast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan and grind to a coarse powder in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Stir in the olive oil, marjoram and lemon zest until combined, then massage the mixture into the skin of the chicken.

3. Place the whole chicken in a sealed plastic bag (with no holes) and leave to marinate overnight or at least a few hours in the fridge.

4. For the pumpkin seed salsa: toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan over a high heat for a few minutes, or until they turn a pale golden colour and start to pop out of the pan.

5. Transfer the warm seeds to a blender or pestle and mortar and grind them to a paste (similar consistency to pesto). Add the chillies and garlic and grind them into the pumpkin seeds, then add the rest of the ingredients to the puree and blitz to a smooth paste.

6. Heat a griddle-pan or barbeque until very hot and cook the chicken skin-side down for 6 minutes a side, or until the skin is golden and the flesh is cooked though.

7. Spread the pumpkin seed salsa over the chicken and serve with a watercress and baby gem salad.

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