Today's post is less about a recipe (goodness knows we've written enough about roast chicken), and more about a simple trick to have you rethinking roast chicken.
America's Test Kitchen has a new book out -- Cook It In Cast Iron -- and we're smitten. It's a simple little book, but for those of you who are cast-iron aficionados, or those wanting to use their cast iron more, it's a must read. The book covers a wide range of dishes -- everything from fried eggs to pies -- that you can easily make in cast iron.
We decided to feature this recipe because it uses cast iron to hack a common chicken problem: The chicken breast cooks more quickly, and therefore dries out before the thighs are done. This is why so many roast chicken recipes have you flip the bird at different intervals.
This recipe solves that problem by using cast iron's ability to retain heat. You simply get the pan really hot in the oven, then place the chicken breast side-up, allowing the thighs to cook at a slightly higher temperature. The best part: it works like a charm, producing a flavorful roast chicken in under an hour.
Time to break out the cast iron!
1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 lemon, quartered
1 shallot, minced
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh time
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position, place 12-inch cast-iron skillet on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile, pat chicken dry with paper towels, rub with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wingtips behind back.
2. When oven reaches 450 degrees, place chicken breast side up in hot skillet. Roast chicken until breast registers 120 degrees and thighs register 135 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes.
3. Arrange lemon quarters cut side down around chicken. Turn off oven and leave chicken in oven until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Using potholders, remove skillet from oven. Transfer chicken to carving board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 minutes. Let roasted lemon cool slightly, then squeeze into fine-mesh strainer set over bowl, extracting as much juice and pulp as possible; press firmly on solids to yield 2 teaspoons juice.
5. While chicken rests, pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet, being careful of hot skillet handle. Add shallot and cook over medium heat until softened, about 30 seconds. Whisk in broth and mustard, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to simmer and cook until mixture is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Stir in any accumulated chicken juices. Off heat, whisk in butter, lemon juice, and thyme. Season with pepper to taste; cover to keep warm. Carve chicken and serve with sauce.