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Cast-Iron Chicken

The Lost Kitchen by Erin French

“There’s nothing more satisfying to make for a gathering - or as weeknight supper - than a simple roast chicken. This version takes it to another level. By weighting down the chicken as it roasts, you ensure that it cooks evenly and maintains its succulent juiciness. Add a little butter, lemon, and rosemary to the pan 0 heaven - and serve with either of the Woof-Fired Winter Sides (pg 234-235). Hey winter, you’re not so bad at all.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds) cut into pieces (see below)
  • Basic Brine (page 170)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

Cutting a chicken into Parts

You want a big, sharp, knife for this job. First cut around each leg at the hip join. Then slice between the leg + the thigh. Cut the wing tips off at the joint and discard or save for the stock. Cut through the breastbone to halve the chicken lengthwise. Remove the backbone and discard or save for stock. Now you should have two breasts with part of the wing still attached. Slice each breast about a third of the way from the thicker top, so the two “halves” are about even. If any spiny ribs are protruding, I use kitchen shears or a paring knife to trim them. Now you’ve got eight pieces of chicken, ready to cook as you wish.

Method

  1. Submerge the chicken in the brine, cover, and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F
  3. Drain the chicken, pat dry with paper towels, and allow it to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet, preferable cast iron, over high heat. Carefully lay the chicken pieces in the pain in a single layer, skin-side down. Cook until you can hear the skin sizzling, about 4 minutes. Put another heavy ovenproof skillet or a foil-wrapped brick on top of the chicken and transfer to the oven. Be strong - it will be heavy! Roast for 8 minutes.
  5. Remove the top skillet and flip the chicken pieces. Add the rosemary, lemon wedges, and butter and continue roasting, uncovered. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear, about 15 minutes.

Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving with the pan juices.

Serves 4

Try the recipe yourself!

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