Cast Iron Crispy Roasted Chicken

As convenient as a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is, the steam from the containers tend to make the skin soggy. This cast iron roasting recipe is guaranteed to give you juicy meat and crispy skin that is sure to impress your family and friends. What they don’t have to know is that it takes only a little more effort than purchasing one already made.

When I first started cooking for myself, the notion of cooking a whole chicken was intimidating. The task seemed daunting and and the prospect of undercooking the chicken terrified me. Let me assure you, those reservations could not be further from the truth! As you will see, roasting a chicken can be made easy and with the help of a meat thermometer. You can be confident that your chicken will be cooked, savoury and delicious!  If you don’t own one that’s ok. There are many different ways to verify whether meat is properly cooked, but a meat thermometer will definitely up your kitchen game. I recommend the digital variety for ease of use but the analog kind will do. This recipe also opts for the use of a cast iron pan but any dish your chicken fits in will work. If you do use a cast iron pan you can deglaze any drippings at the end to make a delicious and quick sauce. Note that the cooking time recommended in this recipe may vary based on the type of pan you decide to use and the size of the chicken you choose to roast.

First, chop up some carrots and sweet potatoes. Then fill the cast iron pan to form a layer. Because we aren’t using a roasting pan, this will prop up the chicken and allow the air to circulate underneath to crisp the skin. Plus you will end up with flavourful sides to enjoy with your meal! Make sure to have purchased a chicken with the organs removed. Then, add half a lemon and a couple of garlic cloves into the cavity and tie the legs together with some twine.

Next, you will need to cover your chicken in a fat to crisp the skin. I always use Ghee for this step. If you have never heard of Ghee before, it is essentially clarified butter that originated from India. Since it is “clarified”, the milk and water fats are cooked out and it can be safe for those who are dairy free. This also means that it has a higher smoke point, making it perfect for high temperature roasting. Best of all, it contains vitamins and nutrients, with a range of benefits from improving digestion to reducing inflammation. Oh, and it tastes like butter and is inexpensive! You can find it in the international aisle of your grocery store. Scoop about a tablespoon into a bowl and combine it with your choice of spices. Some options include: lemon pepper, Montreal steak spice and paprika. If you are using a pre-made spice combination, you may want to reduce or omit the amount of salt the recipe calls for. I am a fan of herb and garlic so I add in some dried spices accordingly. Then don’t be afraid to massage it all over the skin of the bird.

To cook, we’re going to crank the heat to about 450°F for 15 minutes and then bring it down to 400°F for another 40 minutes. Depending on the size of the chicken it may take up to 60 minutes. To check if it’s done, stick the thermometer into the thigh checking for it to register 165°F. If you don’t have a thermometer you will want the juices to run clear after pricking. Move to a cutting board, stick a wooden spoon in the cavity if too heavy. Before you slice into the beautiful golden brown crispy skin, let it rest for about 10 minutes for maximum flavour. Carve your favourite part and don’t forget to keep the carcass for stock!

Cast Iron Roasted Chicken
Preparation: 10 minutes
Baking: 450°F for 15 minutes
400°F for 40-60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Whole chicken (giblets removed)
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of Ghee
  • 1 teaspoon of salt + various spices
  • Pepper to taste
  • Twine
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 sweet potato cut into cubes

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 450 °F
  • Evenly spread the cut sweet potato and carrot chunks along the bottom of a cast iron pan
  • In a small bowl mix together ghee and spices
  • Insert half of a lemon and 2 garlic cloves into the cavity of the chicken and then tie legs together with twine
  • Place chicken on top of cut vegetables and rub with ghee mixture
  • Put the cast iron pan in the oven. After 15 minutes turn temperature down to 400°F for 45 minutes or until juices run clear or thermometer reads 165°F
  • Let rest for 10 minutes before carving

Tips:

  • You can layer whatever vegetables you have on hand in the bottom of the pan
  • Deglaze the pan with some broth, or some dry wine and butter for a quick sauce.
  • Reserve the carcass. Let it sit in a pot with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Toss in a bay leaf, a chopped carrot and celery and fill with water. Simmer for 1 ½ hours to make your own stock!