Kids, I’ve had a revelation. An absolute epiphany.
I’ve seen the light.
Today, I discovered the secret to fast, perfectly roasted chicken.
Two and a half years into this blogging experience, and I’ve finally found a roast chicken recipe I feel confident sharing. That just seems wrong somehow.
Do you ever feel like you’re doing things all wrong? Swimming upstream? Trying to come in through the out door?
That’s the way it’s been with me and roast chicken. Try as I might over the years, I’ve never been comfortable with cooking a whole chicken in the oven. I’ve tried a multitude of techniques – high-heat roasting, low-heat roasting, splitting and splaying, with vegetables, without vegetables, with butter and herbs under the skin, stuffed with citrus and herbs. Sometimes with success, but most often I’d end up either overcooking or undercooking the poor bird (neither of which is desirable). I really thought I’d tried just about everything.
Well, almost everything. Yesterday afternoon I decided to do something I should have done a long time ago. I asked myself “what would Bittman do?”
I had a 3-4 lb. chicken in the fridge that I needed to get prepped and cooked in under an hour, so I turned to Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. And lo and behold – there it was. A method I hadn’t tried before, and an intriguing one at that.
Maybe you’ve seen this before. After discovering how easy it was, I did a little online search to see if maybe I’d just been living under a rock. As it turns out, this method (or a similar one) has been featured here, here and here. So yes, under a rock I have been. But no more.
Now I’m enlightened.
And so, my friends, are you. Grab your cast iron skillets and go forth and roast some chicken. And rejoice.
Cast Iron Roast Chicken
Adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
prep time 10 minutes
cook time: 45 minutes
- 1 3-4 lb. chicken
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon good-quality paprika*
- salt and pepper
- Begin by preheating your oven to 425F**.
- Place your cast iron skillet on a low rack in the oven while it preheats.
- Remove your chicken from the packaging and pat it dry with a paper towel (if there’s a packet of parts in the cavity, be sure to remove that, too).
- Combine the olive oil and paprika in a small bowl, and rub it all over the chicken – get some inside the cavity as well.
- Sprinkle the chicken all over with salt and pepper.
- Once the oven is good and hot (and the skillet, too), transfer the seasoned chicken to the hot skillet.
- Let roast at 425F for 45 minutes, or until the meat registers 150-155F on a meat thermometer (it will continue to cook after you take it out of the oven).
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes before carving and serving.
*You can use pretty much any seasonings you want here. The paprika is nice, but you could also use garlic and herbs, or lemon and herbs, or go a more Latin route and use cumin and chili powder, or even Asian with soy sauce and ginger. Get creative. What’s important here is the technique.
**Bittman recommends a temperature of 450F, and some of the other recipes I’ve seen call for 475F. I did mine at 425F, and it was perfectly done after 45 minutes. Sometimes I think my oven runs hot, though, so there’s that. If you do it at one of the higher temperatures, check it after 35 minutes, just to be sure it’s not getting to dried out.