Perfect Roast ChickenPublished on 19 Nov 2014
There’s a dilemma when cooking a whole chicken. If you were to cook the white meat as well as you cook the dark meat it would be underdone and if you were to cook the dark meat until it was done, you would end up with overcooked (dry) white meat.
The solution is to have the dark meat cook quicker than the white meat (while it is still attached). The method for this, you’ll see, is really very simple and yields a great roast chicken as well.
Things You’ll Need
|a whole chicken||–|
|butter or olive oil||or some other fat|
|salt & pepper||plus any other herbs, spices, aromatics, etc. that you like.|
|a cast iron skillet||–|
- Preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit oven with a cast-iron skillet inside.
- Coat the chicken with fat like butter or olive oil
- Season the chicken however you like –here I’ve simply and sprinkled it with salt & pepper (both inside and out).
- Take the pan out of the oven, if it is hot enough it will be smoking slightly.
- Place the bottom of the chicken in contact with the dry pan (plus any extras) and return it to the oven.
- Roast at 500 degrees until the chicken is beginning to brown –about 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven to 350 degrees and continue to cook the chicken for another 25 to 30 minutes –if need be, cook up to at most 1 hour in total.
- Take it out of the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before carving.
After this, you should have a nicely cooked bird with crispy golden skin on both sides, and with both the white and the dark meat cooked perfectly; the dark meat should be fully cooked and the white meat would be very slightly pink and glistening, which is what we want.
The placing of the chicken directly onto the blistering pan achieves two things:
- It starts cooking the dark meat of the thighs and back right away. Since it takes longer for the dark meat to cook, this gets it ahead of the white meat so when the chicken is finished cooking they both with be cooked perfectly.
- The direct contact also helps render the fat in the chicken and this helps brown the entire bottom.
I personally throw in a few garlic cloves with the chicken that roast nicely & are a great addition to a sauce/gravy –if you deglaze the pan with a chicken stock slurry* (plus salt & pepper), for instance.
*a solution of the cold liquid with a starch, like flour