Wholegrain mustard, honey & sumac spatchcock chicken with cranberry tabbouleh and yoghurt flatbreads

Wholegrain mustard, honey & sumac spatchcock chicken with cranberry tabbouleh and yoghurt flatbreads

Grilled chicken is a fabulous partner for Grenache Noir. In this recipe, the sweet and earthy notes of honey and sumac balance so well with the tang of mustard and lemon. The dried cranberries in the salad plumps up slightly from the residual moisture of the dressing, and rings in perfect unison with the red berry fruit flavours of the wine. 

This simple recipe is a wonderful, low-effort way to entertain a crowd – the chicken can either be grilled in a kettle braai for added smoky flavour or roasted in the oven. The tabbouleh can be made in advance and the easy yeast-free flatbreads can be made in a jiffy while the chicken is cooking. 

Ingredients: (serves 4)

For the cranberry tabbouleh:

1 cup (250 ml) bulgur wheat

1,5 cups (375 ml) water at room temperature 

½ large cucumber, seeded, diced

½ small head broccoli, shredded in a food processor (about 1 cup)

1 punnet Italian parsley, finely chopped

1 punnet fresh mint, finely chopped (thicker stalks discarded)

½ red onion, finely diced

½ cup dried cranberries

50-100 g walnuts, lightly toasted, roughly chopped

45 ml (3 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice

45 ml (3 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper, to taste

For the chicken:

1 large free-range chicken, butterflied (see *tips below on how to butterfly)

30 ml (2 tablespoons) wholegrain mustard

30 ml (2 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

15 ml honey

10 ml ground sumac (can be substituted with paprika)

5 ml dried origanum

salt & pepper, to taste

lemon wedges, to serve (optional)

For the yoghurt flatbreads: (makes 4)

250 g (1¾ cup) white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

15 ml (1 tablespoon) baking powder

5 ml (1 teaspoon salt)

250 g (1 cup) double cream plain yoghurt

Prepare the tabbouleh: Add the bulgur wheat and water to a mixing bowl, cover and leave to stand for 20-30 minutes until all of the water is almost absorbed. Drain off any excess water. Now add the diced cucumber, shredded broccoli, parsley, mint, red onion, cranberries, walnuts, lemon juice, olive oil and season generously with salt & pepper (reserve a few cranberries and mint leaves for garnish). Mix well, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (can be made up to a day ahead).

Prepare the chicken: Prepare your kettle braai for indirect heat (full chimney) and allow the hot coals to preheat the braai with vents open and lid on. In the meantime, lay the chicken on a clean working surface or tray. In a cup or small mixing bowl, stir together the mustard, olive oil, honey, sumac and origanum and season generously with salt & pepper. Stir well, then use a basting brush to cover the chicken on all sides with the marinade. When the kettle braai is ready, place the chicken skin side up over indirect heat (not over the hot coals) and cover with a lid. Grill/cook for an hour without opening the lid, until fully cooked and beautifully browned on the skin. Remove from the heat and leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving into portions. Serve hot with the tabbouleh and some freshly cooked flatbreads.

Prepare the flatbreads: In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt, then stir well. Add the yoghurt and continue to stir until lumps form, then continue to mix by hand, kneading lightly until it comes together in a ball. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 4 equal portions, then roll out each one (dusting with a little extra flour) to about 5-8mm thick, in oval or round shapes. Preheat a griddle pan over medium-high heat, then cook the flatbreads on both sides until puffed up and lightly charred (about 3 minutes a side, depending on the heat). Remove from the pan and serve at once or at room temperature.

*How to butterfly a chicken: Place the chicken on a clean cutting board, breast side down. Using sturdy kitchen scissors, cut on both sides of the backbone from the neck down, right through the ribcage, and remove the backbone. Turn the chicken over and use a knife to cut through the breast bone (not all the way through) to flatten out the breast area. Turn the chicken breast side up with the legs facing you, and pull the legs down to flatten it out, spatchcock-style.