Much like my obsession with collecting bolognese recipes, I love love love a good roast chicken recipe. I adore the way in which a little love, butter or olive oil, salt, pepper and aromatics transform the lowly chicken into something worth honoring. Crisp, golden skin and tender meat come into their own with very little effort, and a homestyle supper is on the table for loved ones without a second thought. Or if you love them EVEN more, you’ll just tuck in with them without even leaving the kitchen. Best of all the leftovers make at least one more meal, if not a gorgeous chicken stock.
My husband saw me oogling over Jonathan Waxman’s pan roasted chicken cooked in a cast iron skillet and purchased me a Lodge Logic 15″ beauty from Amazon. It’s heavy as hell (a two-hand job) but an amazing holder of temperature and big enough for a chicken and a mess of roasted veg to boot. It needs a name. Like Thor. Or maybe the Kraken. So whenever I take it out, I’m releasing the…haha…you get it.
For the butterflying portion, you can certainly have the butcher do it, but it’s easy work with a nice pair of kitchen scissors. Simply cut out the back (and save for stock) and flatten the entire mess with a little pressure on the breast bone. Prepping the chicken in this manner cuts the cooking time way down and allows more of the surface area to come into contact with the lemon and herbs. The whole mess forms a delicious sauce for the incredibly moist chicken, all with no fuss at all. So basically, yes, your prayers were answered and that homecooked meal you’ve been dreaming about is here. Now. Go make it.
Butterflied Chicken with Lemon and Herbs
1 whole chicken
1 bunch of rosemary
1 bunch of thyme
1 onion, thinly sliced
coarse sea salt and black pepper
good olive oil
1 bunch of tarragon
1/2 c. of chicken broth
2 tbs. of butter
Preheat the oven to 450°. Rinse the chicken well and pat dry. Using the poultry shears, cut along each side of the backbone to remove it. Flip the chicken over and press down on the breastbone to flatten it. Liberally season with coarse salt and black pepper and then rub with a bit of olive oil. Place chicken skin side down in a cast iron skillet. Surround the chicken with the onions and top with the rosemary and thyme. Halve the lemons and squeeze the juice over the chicken. Tuck lemons into the pan with the herbs and onions. Drizzle with a little more oil and pop into the oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the juices of the thigh meat run clear when pierced with a fork.
When the chicken is finished, remove from the skillet to a platter and let rest. Put the skillet on the stove and heat. Add the chicken broth and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. When the sauce thickens a bit, add the butter. Strain the sauce and set aside. If you feel diligent, you can also pick out some of the roasted onions.
Carve the chicken into pieces and serve with the sauce.