Not much beats a roasted chicken on a dreary, rainy spring Sunday. I’ve used the same roasted chicken recipe for several years and it’s always produced a pretty good chicken but, I’m open to new options, especially when they involve the cast iron skillet. Roasted chickens aren’t typically designed for weeknight meals but this certainly would work. Less than an hour from start to finish and you have the juiciest chicken I’ve ever tasted. The key to the recipe is a super hot oven (500 degrees!) and preheating the skillet so that when you add the chicken with the dark meat down it immediately gets seared and gets a jump-start on cooking so that the dark and white meat end up at the proper temperature at the same time.
Start by preheating your oven to 500 degrees with the cast iron skillet in the oven.
You want to have as much of the dark meat touch the skillet surface as possible. Cut the skin holding the legs to the chicken so that you can splay out the legs (I felt compelled to apologize to my chicken at this point as I maneuvered it into this awkward position.)
Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle the chicken all over with salt and allow it to rest while the oven preheats. You don’t want to drop a refrigerator cold chicken into a hot pan. Add some lemon slices to the chicken cavity.
When the oven is hot, add the chicken to the pan, pressing down on the legs to help them make contact with the pan. Remember, your pan is HOT and there will be lots of sizzling when you add the chicken. Drizzle the top with olive oil and some seasoning if you like. Return the pan to the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Next time I’d experiment more with some herbs under the chicken skin for a different flavor.
While the chicken cooks, chop some green onions and garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are the flower stalk of garlic. They are crazy, curly stalks with a warm garlic onion flavor. They have a very brief season in late spring and I’m very appreciative of Sherry from Sheerlark Farm for bringing them for me! The green onions came from Signal Mountain Farm who brought in the first of their produce today!
Test the temperature of the chicken after 35 minutes. You want the breast at 160 and the leg/thigh at 170. Carefully remove the chicken from the hot pan and tent it with foil to keep it warm come to temp.
Isn’t it lovely?!
Add the green onions and garlic scapes to the skillet and cook until wilted down. You may have to drain some of the fat in the skillet.
While this chicken was roasting away, we also had some carrots roasting in the toaster oven. These are the easiest carrots and so delicious they even won over Neal who swore he didn’t like cooked carrots!
Slice the carrots with a sharp bias cut, toss with oil and salt and pepper and roast on a baking sheet at 415 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Carve your chicken, plate it up, and enjoy! A gorgeous spring dinner!