After visiting 10 cities in 3 months, I wasn’t truly aware of how much I needed a home-cooked meal. That is until I made this smoked paprika chicken.
A classic roast chicken is so simultaneously humble yet perfect when done right that I never get tired of it. I’ll sear it in cast iron for a quick meal, slow roast it for a Sunday dinner, or slather it with spices for something easy like this Spatchcock Oregano And Smoked Paprika Chicken recipe.
What is Smoked Paprika?
While you may have regular (or sweet) paprika, you may not have smoked paprika in your pantry but it’s worth it to have both.
The difference between regular paprika and smoked paprika is that, while both are made from crushed dried chiles, smoked paprika is chili peppers that were dried over an oak fire before being ground into a powder.
Use sweet paprika for lighter dishes like garlic shrimp and use smoked paprika for recipes where you want a more intense flavor like pulled pork, roast chicken, or stewed beans. You can read more about the difference between sweet paprika and smoked paprika here.
What Is Spatchcock Oregano And Smoked Paprika Chicken?
Before we go any further, we should clarify that this smoked paprika chicken is not chicken paprikash! If you’re looking for a recipe for that classic recipe, made with chicken broth, heavy cream, and all sorts of deliciousness, head here.
This smoked paprika chicken recipe takes a classic roast spatchcock chicken technique but slathers it in a super flavorful marinade that is inspired by this recipe from Bon Appetit.
Smoked Paprika Chicken Marinade Ingredients
Made with olive oil soy sauce, honey, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic, salt, and black pepper, the end result is a smoky flavor that’s akin to barbecue sauce but in a rub form.
Mind you this is a marinade which means you definitely can prep this recipe ahead of time! Coat the chicken with the marinade up to 24 hours in advance and keep it uncovered in the refrigerator. Just be sure to let the chicken rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before roasting, so it cooks evenly.
We like to put the chicken over the potato and onion mixture in a large cast iron or enamel skillet, but it can also be put in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet lined with a wire rack.
Smoked Paprika Chicken Variations
Yes, we make this recipe with a whole roaster chicken (about 4 to 5 pounds), but you could also use the marinade on chicken breasts, boneless skinless chicken thighs, or on pork chops.
We like to use part of the marinade for the chicken and the remainder to coast onions and potatoes but don’t feel you have to do that. You could skip the vegetables entirely or instead coat chopped squash, leeks, or sweet potatoes.
What Is Spatchcock Chicken?
Okay, right about now, you’re probably thinking, “Great, I’m sold on making this smoked paprika chicken, but what the heck is a spatchcock?”
The term spatchcock chicken is simply another way to say butterflied chicken. In other words, the backbone is removed which allows the roasting chicken to be flattened.
Why Spatchcock A Chicken?
What is the point of a spatchcock chicken? Well, doing so has two major benefits.
- First, it majorly reduces the cooking time by almost 25%, meaning you can get dinner on the table faster.
- Second, it helps the chicken cook more evenly, so you don’t have to worry about undercooked thighs and overcooked breast meat.
- Third, the chicken skin gets a lot more exposure to the heat so you end up with crispier chicken skin!
- Finally, it makes the roasting chicken easier to cook in a variety of manners, be it grilled, smoked, pan fried, or roasted.
How To Spatchcock A Chicken
Now that we’ve convinced you that the best way to make this smoked paprika chicken is to spatchcock it, you might want to know how to do so. Here are the three steps to spatchcock a chicken:
- First, place a chicken breast side down on a cutting board. Then, using poultry shears or sharp kitchen shears, carefully cut along both sides of the backbone and discard the backbone.
- Second, keep the chicken breast side down and use a sharp paring knife, and carefully score the breastbone, which will make it easier to flatten.
- Finally, flip the chicken, so it is now breast side up. Place your hands over the middle of the breast and press down to crack the breastbone and flatten the chicken. Go ahead and proceed with your recipe as normal!
How To Carve A Cooked Spatchcock Chicken
Once your smoked paprika chicken is fully cooked, let it rest on a cutting board for 10 to 15 minutes before carving. Then, grab a sharp chef’s knife or carving knife and get to carving — we promise carving a spatchcock chicken is easier than carving a “standard” chicken!
- First, cut at the joints that connect the thighs to the breasts and remove the thigh and leg portions.
- Second, take the thigh and leg portion and put the end of the drumstick in your hand then cut through the joints between the thigh and drumstick to separate.
- Third, cut through the joints between the wings and breast to remove the wings.
- Fourth, cut down the middle of the breasts and use a sharp paring knife or poultry shears to cut along the breast bone on both sides to remove the breasts.
- Finally, cut the breast pieces crosswise for a total of four breast pieces.
What To Serve With Smoked Paprika Chicken
Looking for other dishes to serve with this smoked paprika chicken? You could simply serve it with sauteed spinach and brown rice (if you don’t make the potatoes). Otherwise, we’d suggest serving this smoked paprika chicken with the following recipes:
Smoked Paprika and Oregano Spatchcock Chicken Recipe
For The Smoked Paprika Chicken:
- 1 (4 to 5 pound) chicken
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- Juice of 2 limes (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves finely chopped plus more leaves for garnish
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 6 garlic cloves grated
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
For The Roast Vegetables:
- 2 medium yellow onions sliced into 1-inch rings
- 1 1/2 pounds assorted fingerling potatoes halved
- Spatchcock The Chicken: Remove the chicken from packaging, discard and giblets, and pat dry with paper towels. To spatchcock, use a sharp pair of poultry shears or kitchen scissors to cut along both sides of the backbone; remove and discard. Place chicken, breast-side up, and press down on the breast to flatten it so it is lying completely flat.
- Marinate The Chicken: Combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 3 tablespoons of the soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, all the paprika, cumin, oregano, garlic and 3 teaspoons of the salt in a bowl and mix until thoroughly moistened. Rub half the mixture under the skin of the chicken getting under the breasts, thighs, and legs. Then rub 1 tablespoon of oil all over the skin on the outside.
- Prepare The Oven: Heat oven to 450°F and arrange rack in the middle. In a medium bowl toss the onions and potatoes with the remaining paste and remaining salt. Set aside while oven heats up, at least 20 minutes. (Alternatively, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before roasting. Be sure to let the chicken rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before roasting so it cooks evenly.)
- Roast The Spatchcock Chicken: Arrange onions and potatoes in the bottom of a roasting pan or large baking dish. Place chicken on top, and roast until the thigh meat is no longer pink and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165°F, about 50 minutes. The potatoes may not be fully cooked when the chicken is ready. If that happens, remove the chicken to a cutting board to rest and return the potatoes to the oven to roast for another 10 minutes while the chicken rests. Let the chicken sit at least 10 minutes before carving.
- Carve The Spatchcock Chicken: Use a sharp knife to cut at the joints that connect the thighs to the breasts and remove the thigh and leg portions. Second, take the thigh and leg portion and put the end of the drumstick in your hand then cut through the joints between the thigh and drumstick to separate. Third, cut through the joints between the wings and breast to remove the wings. Fourth, cut down the middle of the breasts and use a sharp paring knife or poultry shears to cut along the breast bone on both sides to remove the breasts.Finally, cut the breast pieces crosswise for a total of four breast pieces.
- Serve The Smoked Paprika Chicken: Garnish chicken with a few additional oregano leaves, and serve with onions, potatoes, and a spoonful of the pan juices.