Roasted Splayed Chicken in Cast Iron
I may be biased, but our pasture-raised Bresse chicken is the best dang chicken I’ve ever eaten! Our favorite way to prepare it is to bake it in hot cast iron, with the legs splayed and against the pan – this helps the breast and the thigh cook at the same rate. By adding vegetables to the pan, you can get a whole meal – and the veggies baste in the delicious chicken drippings. Adjust the timing of both chicken and vegetables as necessary – rely on your thermometer, not just cooking time, for perfectly roasted chicken! Plan on about 10 minutes per pound.
Serves: 3-4 for a nice dinner (depends on the size of the chicken and the skillet)
Supplies: A large cast iron skillet and a meat thermometer (preferably one with a probe that can be left in while cooking)
Prep Time: 45 minutes – Cook Time: 45 minutes – Total Time: 1.5 hours
What You Need
1 3-4 lb Flight Path Farm Whole Bresse Chicken
Sea salt or kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Spice rub or mix of your choice (optional)
2-4 fist-sized potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks
2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch long pieces
1 leek, cleaned and cut into 1-inch long rounds
2-3 T lard or vegetable oil
How To Make It
Place the cast iron pan in the oven and turn the temperature to 500°F. Let pan preheat for 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, season all over with salt and pepper and place breast up on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut the skin connecting the legs to the body. Splay the thighs open until you feel the joint pop on each side. Set chicken aside.
Scrub the potatoes and carrots and cut up. To clean the leeks, first cut off the fibrous dark green portion at the top. Starting about 1 inch above the roots at the bottom, slice the leek in half vertically to expose inner layers; then rinse any dirt out under cold running water, pat dry, and cut into rounds.
When the pan is ready, carefully remove it from the oven and swirl lard around to melt. Transfer the chicken, breast-side up, to the hot skillet. Drizzle the bird with another tablespoon of melted lard, and then place potatoes around the chicken; roast for 15 minutes. Add carrots around the chicken and gently toss vegetables; roast 10 more minutes. Add the leeks and gently toss vegetables again; roast for 15 minutes.
Once the vegetables are soft, the chicken skin is golden, and the thigh reaches a temperature of 165°F, remove the pan from the oven and place chicken on a plate or clean cutting board to rest for 10 minutes, then carve and serve with the vegetables and some crusty bread