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Roast Chicken in Cast Iron

Roast Chicken.jpg

There are a thousand different methods for roasting a chicken, and I can only offer you my own. Most available roast chicken recipes call for a smaller chicken, ranging from a Cornish hen to a 3 or 4 pound fryer. The larger roaster chickens aren't seen very often in those recipes. That's because most of those recipes call for a faster cooking time with a hotter temperature. This will work fine with a smaller bird, but when you're using the big and fat roasting birds, those methods will cook the outside of the bird much faster than the inside. The inside of a larger chicken will be undercooked, and the joints will still be tough and pink. To remedy this problem, we need to use a method for roasting similar to what we see with a Thanksgiving turkey. This uses a lower oven temperature and a longer cooking time, to ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked all the way to the bone. Of course, we still want a crisp skin on our chicken, and this is why we sear the bird first, as well as using a basting mixture.

Pans needed: Large cast iron skillet, preferably 12 inches or more. A smaller skillet, or saucepan, is used to prepare the basting mixture.


Basting mixture


Roasting the Chicken

Preparing Chicken.jpg

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place 12-inch cast iron skillet on stovetop, heat at medium. There's no need to set your stovetop heat higher than medium, as this will slowly heat the skillet and ensure it is entirely heated, from the center to the edge. Leaving the stovetop burner at medium will ensure the iron pan will be ready to sear the chicken when all preparations are finished.

Cut celery, carrots, and one onion into large pieces. Add them to a bowl, as they will be added to the pan later. Cut the second onion into quarters. Peel garlic cloves and keep them with the quartered onion. These will be used to stuff the chicken. You may add your own seasonings or other additions to the stuffing, or substitute your own stuffing.

Prepare chicken: remove giblet bag and any accessories, wash chicken, pat dry. Reserve the giblets in a small dish or bowl, to add to the pan later. You can place the giblets in the refrigerator if you're concerned about germs for the small period of time they're exposed to the open air.

Season the inside of the chicken, spreading salt and pepper to taste around the inside cavity.

Place saucepan or small skillet on a separate stovetop burner, heat at low-to-medium. Melt butter. Add paprika, mix it together.

Sear the chicken in the hot skillet, browning all sides. After browning, place chicken in the skillet breast side up.

Turn off the stovetop burner under the chicken. The pan will remain hot as the final preparations are finished.

Stuff chicken with onion and garlic pieces.

Pour basting mixture over the chicken, covering as much of the surface as possible. You can use a brush to based the undersides of the wings and drumsticks.

Add chicken giblets to the pan, on the side of the chicken; don't place them on or in the chicken. Add vegetables to the pan, surrounding the chicken.

Sprinkle seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, thyme) over the chicken and vegetables.

Place entire pan with chicken in the oven, on the lower rack. Immediately lower the oven temperature from 425 to 350 degrees. This will decrease the temperature as the chicken roasts. Roast for fifteen (15) minutes per pound.

After Roasting

Chicken Served.jpg

Move the chicken to a serving plate or platter. Turn the stovetop burner back on to low-medium, and simmer the pan liquids, stirring constantly, to reduce them into gravy. Pour the pan contents through a strainer into a bowl, to strain the gravy from the solids. The pan contents can now be discarded. Serve chicken with gravy.