Cast Iron

Best Roast Chicken

January 10, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 6 - 8
Author Notes

This recipe was inspired by Michael Ruhlman’s recent rant on why Americans are being taught they are too stupid to cook, (awesome roast chicken instructions on that blog entry) and partly because of my New Year’s Resolution to cook using more sustainably-raised and grown food. This is truly the best roast chicken we’ve ever had. I used a free-range bird from John Boy’s Farm, a fellow vendor at the Pound Ridge Farmers Market who raises happy Berkshire pigs and various free-roaming poultry on his farm in the Catskills. Michael’s recipe is ridiculously easy, and cooks in an hour. At the end of the cooking time, I poked a meat thermometer into the thigh, just to make sure, and it read 185. Thinking I overcooked the bird, I then checked the breast meat, and got a temp of slightly under 165, knowing it would increase while resting. Perfect! I’ve never had a chicken with more tender, juicy meat. While carving up the bird in the kitchen, I had to remind myself about my 3 hungry customers waiting for their dinner, or I could’ve picked at the scraps all the live-long day. —mrslarkin

What You'll Need
  • 1 (one) 3 - 4 pound free-range chicken (mine was 4 3/4 lb.)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or melted unsalted butter
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place chicken in a large cast-iron frying pan. Pan size should be slightly bigger than chicken.
  3. Mix garlic and olive oil (or butter) and spread all over bird.
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over and inside bird.
  5. Place lemon and thyme in cavity. Truss.
  6. Bake for one hour. Check thigh with meat thermometer and cook to desired temperature. Remove to a platter, letting juices drain into pan. Let bird rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. While bird is resting in platter, MAKE GRAVY: Heat roasting pan to high and scrape drippings. Add 1 cup broth, and a slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons cold water. Lower heat. Stir with a whisk until thickened. If desired, strain gravy into a bowl. But sometimes, I like chunks. Serve with chicken.
  8. Carve bird. Here's a great video of Chef Norman Weinstein from ICE with step-by-step carving instructions:
  9. This is the meal that keeps on giving. Leftover chicken makes great chicken pot pie, chicken soup, chicken tacos or chicken salad. Keep the carcass and make your own chicken stock!
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  • pierino
  • mrslarkin

2 Reviews

pierino February 22, 2010
Your advice on the temperature is exactly right. Unfortunately most "instant read" aren't so instant. I recommend the Thermapen which is much easier to find these days. You'll get an accurate reading in under 4 seconds. Farenheit or Centigrade. These are expensive but indispensable.
mrslarkin February 22, 2010
Yes, I've heard very good things about the Thermapen. I got the Acu-Rite for Christmas - the one with the probe and long wire that hangs out of the oven. It's slightly annoying, but who am I to complain to Santa?