Cast Iron Skillet Roasted Chicken
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I was looking for a easy roast chicken method, and the cast iron skillet worked great. We later added brining the chicken. It takes a little more time, although the results are worth it. But if you are in a hurry, skip the brine and just follow the rest of the recipe. We did it this way for a long time. But, do coat the chicken with olive oil and then salt the bird well before roasting (a step not given below because of the brine).

The tricks here are preheating the skillet to blazing hot, the bacon to keep the breast moist, and not over filling the bird's cavity to allow for the hot air to circulate though the inside of the bird.

2-3 lb chicken
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tbls garlic powder
zest of one large lemon
water (~ 2qt) and ice
3 - 4 strips of good bacon, cut in half
fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp dried lemon zest
1 large lemon, halved

Add the salt, sugar, garlic powder, and lemon zest to the water, and heat until they dissolve. Pore in the ice and refrigerate until cool. Add the washed chicken. Brine for 2 to 3 hours.

Remove the chicken from the brine, and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Place the two lemon halves in the cavity of the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with black pepper and lemon zest. Cover the breast and the top of each thigh with strips of bacon.

While preparing the chicken, place a 12" cast iron skillet on the lower rack in the oven, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using heat protection, carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Place the chicken in the skillet, and return to the oven. Roast for 40 minutes. Take the chicken out of the oven and remove the bacon. Return the chicken to the oven and roast of another 20 - 30 minutes, or until the thigh is at 160 degrees. Carve, serve, and enjoy!

Feel free to use the juices left in the skillet to make a delicious pan sauce. Just keep 1 - 2 tbls, add some shallot, garlic, fresh thyme, a dollop of dijon mustard, about a cup of chicken stock, finish with some butter. A little lemon juice or your favorite vinegar will also add a little zip.


Cliff Note: We make several variation on this roast chicken. Usually putting a herb butter under the skin before laying on the bacon. Use the herb butter from this recipe for one idea. But a compound butter with just garlic, chives, and lemon zest is also delicious. The last time we used an idea from TV, and roasted several lemon halves at the same time as the chicken and then used the juice from these lemons to make a roasted lemon vinaigrette as a sauce for the chicken.