Do you say “it cannot be done”? 45 minutes! Really!? I say it can…by using a small trick. I read this tip in the NY Times Wednesday food section. They intended for it to be used to roast a chicken on your grill like an oven and I originally planned making this recipe as written. It was the weekend we were moving back into our vacation cabin and I, frankly, ran out of steam after unpacking all day. But, I had already purchased and seasoned the chicken. We were hungry, but lacked the energy to light the BBQ. Consequently I roasted it in the oven as if it were an oven, which it obviously was.
If you roast chickens frequently you will immediately recognize the problem of roasting one perfectly. If you truss the chicken into a neat little package, the area between the thigh and the breast is often undercooked (and still has red juices) when the breast is ready. Many folks are completely turned off by those pink juices and it often means an undercooked thigh, which is my favorite part.
I don’t know why I didn’t think of this trick before, it seems so obvious in retrospect.
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of chile powder
- Freshly grated rind of 1 lemon
- 1 whole chicken, patted dry
- Extra virgin olive oil as needed
- Heavy duty 12″ heat proof frying pan or skillet, preferably cast iron
- In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, chile powder, and lemon zest. Rub the chicken inside and out with the mix. Place the chicken on a rack over a baking pan and refrigerate (uncovered) for 4 hours to overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly rub the heavy skillet with oil and place it in the oven to heat for 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Here it is: Use a sharp knife to cut the skin connecting the legs from the rest of the body. Use your hands (you can cover them with paper towels if you are squeamish) to splay the thighs open until you feel the joint pop.
- Rub the chicken with olive oil. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven (it will be very hot), and place the chicken breast side down in the hot skillet. Return it to the oven and cook for about 5-10 minutes until the breast is seared and easily releases from the pan.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and carefully turn the chicken breast side up using tongs and a spatula. I am always reminded of Julia Child at this point. Remember the episode when she drops the chicken on the floor, picks it up and places it back on the plate? So funny!
- Return the skillet to the oven and continue cooking for another 25-35 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and rest for 10 minutes before serving.
By splaying the legs you will find that the thighs and breast cook at the same rate. The heat has a chance to get into the joint.
I am taking this to Fiesta Friday #124, I think the group will appreciate the tip. I have the honor of co-hosting this week with Lindy @ Love in the Kitchen. Click on the Fiesta Friday link to view all the rest of the party food.