A good friend of mine gifted me a cast iron skillet for Christmas and I was skeptical on using it, because I have never really delved into that area of expertise. Well, last night I was feeling adventurous, and I had been wanting to roast this whole chicken I had in the fridge. I’ve been reading up on a lot of posts lately with chef connoisseurs alike saying cast iron is the only way.
So there I was, in my kitchen, cracking open the package on this new and intimidating piece of hardware. I followed direction to preheat the skillet in the oven at 450F. Meanwhile, generously rubbing this 5 pounder with olive oil, and all of my favorite herbs/spices. It was still raw and it looked divine! I knew this experiment would be good, but I was also prepared for disaster. Upon much research, I was informed this was not only the tastiest way to roast a chicken and get the crispiest skin, but the fastest as well! I am an advocate for that! Mine took an hour, including resting time, and I can proudly say this was the best chicken I have ever had. It was everything you want in a roasted chicken- extra crispy skin, packed with flavor, and juicy all the way through. And the pan drippings?! Oh.. they were on a whole different level of scrumptious. We may or may not have dipped our pieces of chicken in it …
Just see for yourself:
Your mouth is watering now isn’t it? I served this with a simple salad, and it was the perfect meal. Lately my salads have been consisting of mixed greens, chic peas, bean sprouts and shaved red onion. I am in love with these flavor combinations and textures, but any salad will do. It is really the refreshing aspect of a salad alongside chicken like this that really compliments, but doesn’t overpower the amounts of flavor the chicken provides.
Do yourself a favor, and instead of going out this weekend for dinner, pick up a whole chicken (something small, 3-5 lbs), and make this recipe. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, make sure it’s on your wishlist because this cooking style is GOLD.
1 – 5 lb whole chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved
1 T dried minced garlic (fresh could work too)
3 T smoked paprika
2 t kosher salt
2 T cajun seasoning (I used Tony’s)
1 1/2 T garlic powder
1. Preheat your oven to 450F, and let your cast iron skillet get hot in the oven.
2. Remove the insides of the chicken, rise, and pat dry.
3. Stuff your chicken with 1 half of the lemon, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and 2 sprigs of thyme.
4. If desired, tie the legs of the chicken together with butcher’s twine.
5. Tuck the wings of the chicken under the bird, so they do not burn.
6. Massage the bird well with the olive oil, including under the skin, use more if needed.
7. Generously sprinkle the paprika, cajun seasoning, salt, garlic powder, and minced garlic all over the bird’s skin. Squeeze the other half of the lemon on the top of the bird. Finish with the remaining rosemary and thyme, minced.
8. Once the bird is seasoned, place it breast side up in your cast iron skillet.
9. Bake at 450F for 1 hour, or until the thermometer reaches 160F in the thickest part of the bird (normally the thigh). Once the chicken is resting it will continue to cook to the perfect temperature.
10. Halfway through cooking time, baste your bird with the pan drippings.
11. Once the chicken is done cooking, remove from the oven and let rest for 15 mins before serving. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!! The rest time will ensure your chicken is nice and juicy)
*Note: depending on the size of your chicken, cooking time may vary.