This is the easiest roast chicken you will ever make. Ever. I found the recipe on page 204 in Cal Peternell’s wonderful book, Twelve Recipes. Peternell, a chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, relies heavily on a cast iron skillet and I decided that so should I. I made this recipe for the first time a few weeks ago and couldn’t believe how delicious and easy it was. Today is a grey Saturday afternoon, the first in January. I came home from yoga teacher training and my kids and husband were parked in front of their computers. My husband said he wanted to see “Star Wars” tonight. I really didn’t. My older son wanted to see two movies, back to back, and of course, neither was “Star Wars.” My younger son, who is usually totally up for a movie, wasn’t sure he wanted to see one since he had a big geometry test coming up. I decided we all needed a better attitude—it’s Saturday night, and the New Year, people!—and the house needed a better smell, at least literally. Cast iron skillet roast chicken with rosemary to the rescue. At a minimum, it would give us something to eat before we headed out for the movies.
Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken with Rosemary (You will need a cast iron skillet for this recipe.)
1 3-4 pound chicken
Salt and pepper
1/2 stick of butter
Fresh rosemary, chopped up (about 1 tablespoon)
Turn oven to 475 degrees. Once it reaches 475 degrees, put cast iron skillet inside. While pan is heating, do the following:
Chop up rosemary. Put in microwavable bowl with half a stick of butter. Microwave for 30 seconds or so.
Wash chicken. Sprinkle with salt and butter. Lay chicken on back, legs up, and cover with rosemary butter, inside and out. Take cast iron skillet out of oven (be careful, it will be extremely hot) and put chicken in it, lets up. Put chicken back in the oven for 20 minutes. When timer goes off, don’t open the oven! Just leave chicken in there for 30 minutes more. (Total time in oven is 50 minutes.) As Peternell writes, “Don’t open the (oven) door and peek, have faith, and the chicken will be done 30 minutes later. This is for a 3 1/2-4 pound chicken—bigger or smaller, adjust the oven-off time by 5 minutes.) When it is done, brace yourself. This is magnificent chicken.