A Porchetta-Spiced Roast Chicken for Smaller Thanksgivings

Turkey Day’s just as delicious even when there’s no turkey.

November 16, 2021
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.

We’ve teamed up with our friends at All-Clad to bring you Pans With a Plan—a series sharing smart techniques, tasty recipe ideas, and all sorts of handy tips for cooking novices and seasoned pros alike. Here, food writer and recipe developer Asha Loupy shares a family-favorite Thanksgiving recipe: crispy roast chicken with porchetta-inspired spices that all comes together in the All-Clad 50th Anniversary D3® Stainless Casserole Dish.

For the last decade, my Thanksgiving guest list has been one name: my mom. No matter how much we love leftovers (and, we do!), even a small turkey is way too big for our tiny family feast. Maybe like me, your table might look a little smaller this year. Even if you’re cooking for a few people, I’m here to tell you, your Thanksgiving can be just as special—and equally delicious, too—without the turkey.

Enter: this Porchetta-Spiced Roast Chicken. Liberally seasoned with rosemary, a ton of fennel seed, garlic, and other aromatics, this dish still gives you those satisfying crispy-skinned, poultry vibes, just in a smaller format. And, both the chicken and a bacon-flecked, rustic bread dressing come together in one pan and bowl.

More than a casserole dish

A few inches deep with dual handles, All-Clad’s 50th Anniversary D3® Stainless Casserole— a limited-edition pan celebrating 50 years of All-Clad and good cooking—is a versatile 3-quart size. That makes it ideal for smaller, holiday entertaining, from skillet potato gratin and green bean casserole to no-knead focaccia, and in this case, a whole roast chicken. Plus, its sleek, stainless steel appearance makes it perfect for going from oven to table (save yourself an extra platter to clean!).

The pans in All-Clad’s D3® Stainless Collection are composed of three layers: two stainless-steel outer layers and an aluminum core. The aluminum brings thermal conductivity and fast, even heating to the party, while the stainless steel is known for its strength and durability. Combine the two and you have a long-lasting pan that heats up at rapid speed and maintains even heat distribution. It’s no surprise these pans remain the crème de la crème of the cookware world, beloved by chefs and home cooks alike.

A smaller feast that’s big on flavor

Roast chicken may not seem as masterful a centerpiece as a big, honkin’ turkey, but play the flavors up right and your guests will be clucking about that chicken until next Thanksgiving.

The day before your feast, start preparing your chicken: First, and very importantly, you’re going to spatchcock your chicken. Removing the backbone and flattening the chicken will aid for even cooking (no dry or undercooked chicken here) and allow every bit of skin to get a full blast of heat, resulting in beautiful, golden skin. This butchery of the chicken will also come in handy later when it comes to protecting the dressing from direct heat when roasting.

Inspired by Italian porchetta—a roasted, rolled pork roast flavored with herbs, fennel, and garlic—the seasoning for the chicken is a punchy blend of fresh rosemary, lemon zest, coarsely ground fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, lots of black pepper, and salt. Season the chicken generously, slipping some of the mixture under the skin of the breasts, and then let that baby chill out in the refrigerator overnight. While you’re in feast prep mode, now is also a good time to dry out the croutons in the oven for tomorrow’s dressing, too.

On the big day, take the chicken out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about an hour. That gives you time to prepare the dressing, which starts with matchsticks of bacon, cooked until the fat renders. In goes a mess of shallots (right now your house should start smelling really good) and then those bacon-y shallots get tossed with the prepared rustic bread croutons, parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and some chicken stock. The dressing might look a little dry, but it will be under the chicken catching all those savory, herby juices and chicken fat, further moistening it and adding infinite amounts of deliciousness.

Before adding the dressing back into the All-Clad Casserole, line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment. Since the bottom of the pan conducts heat so efficiently, this will prevent any sticking. Add the dressing to the pan and then blanket with the chicken, using the bird as a lid to keep the bread from drying out.

After roasting, the chicken will be golden and burnished; it should only need a quick 15- to 20-minute rest before carving. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest and then give the dressing underneath a stir. Then, while the chicken is resting, you’re going to return the dressing to the oven, which will give you the perfect mix of crispy crunchiness and custardy pieces of chicken fat-soaked bread. Carve the chicken, arrange it back into the casserole on top of the dressing, and you’re ready to bring it to the table.

Time to mix it up

Thanksgiving may be on your brain, but once you get this one-pan chicken-and-dressing method down, you can play with different flavor combinations for everyday eating and petite dinner parties. Pick your flavorings, roast the chicken, and serve with a simple green salad dressed with a bright, zingy vinaigrette. Then all that’s left is to pop open a bottle of wine. How’s that for easy entertaining? Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Rub the chicken with homemade or store-bought blackening or Cajun seasoning. Then, for the dressing use a classic mix of carrots, onions and celery, plus sub browned sausage instead of bacon and big pieces of corn bread for croutons.
  2. Make a quick rub with za’atar, lemon zest, garlic, and salt for the chicken. Then add a big spoonful of jarred harissa paste and some chopped preserved lemon to the shallot-y dressing base. As for the herbs and cheese, try a mix of mint and parsley, plus chunky pieces of feta instead of parmesan. Serve with salted yogurt for spooning over.
  3. Marinate the spatchcocked chicken in Eric Kim’s super easy, highly flavorful Jalapeño-Cilantro Stem Marinade. Then, keep the dressing simple with a little ginger and garlic added to the shallots, a mix of cilantro and parsley for the herbs, and nix the parmesan. Serve with pickled red onions to cut through the richness of the dish.

What’s your go-to method for roasting chicken? Tell us in the comments!

In partnership with All-Clad we're bringing you tips, techniques, and lots of delicious recipe ideas for every piece of cookware in your kitchen—from sauté pans to stockpots. Need to stock up on some new cooking equipment, or upgrade your current collection? All-Clad’s D3® Stainless collection has all the essentials you need to turn out a variety of dishes.

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Food writer & recipe developer