I am pretty sure this makes me an official cook. This is right out of an episode of Mad Men this roasted chicken. I imagine myself as Betty Draper or June Cleaver for those of you who have not yet caught on to the award winning show (shame on you). Although the two characters are very different, I imagine they both can whip up a mind-blowing roasted chicken.
The idea came to me in the form of a gift. The gift was a huge cast iron skillet. The idea was more like suggestion for its use by none other than Zach's mom.
You can roast a whole chicken in there.
And that is what I did. I researched recipes and techniques. I put together the elements of each recipe I thought had the most promise, and promise this bird had. This is not to say this process was all candy and television and everything wonderful. It took some gut wrenching to bake this bird... literally. Zach became official gut wrencher, taking full responsibility when it came to fishing out the chicken's heart, gizzard, lungs, liver and kidneys (at least that what they looked liked). I had no problem dissecting cats in 12th grade anatomy, but when I am expected to eat the thing afterward, I have to draw the line somewhere. I went about removing the skin and seasoning the thing, tossing lemon rinds, rosemary and garlic into the body cavity which seemed just plain rude to me. According to Emeril Lagasse, who's recipe I ended up taking the most from, this chicken should roast for about 50 minutes (I did an hour because I added potatoes).
Roasted Chicken for the Official Cook's Soul
(Recipe liberally adapted from Emeril Lagasse)
3 carrots, chopped diagonally into 1 inch thick pieces
3 onions, peeled and chopped (thick pieces)
1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) chicken, rinsed and patted dry (I removed the skin from mine)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 lemon, quartered
4 sprigs fresh rosemary (chopped)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 lb small potatoes (I used the small red ones)- I cut them into thirds, but if they are small enough you can just half them.
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Place the carrots and onions into a large cast iron skillet (or a 9 x 13 roasting pan), creating a layer of vegetables for the chicken to rest on top of. Drizzle the vegetables with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and some rosemary.
Squeeze the lemon quarters over the chicken and place the rinds inside the cavity. Rub the garlic cloves all over the outside of the chicken and then place them inside the cavity as well. Season the chicken both inside and out with the rosemary, kosher salt and black pepper. Rub the chicken both inside and out with a little bit of olive oil, and place it right on top of the vegetables in the skillet.
Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and kosher salt, and place them around the chicken in the skillet. Pour the chicken broth into the skillet (Do not pour it over the chicken because you will wash away the seasoning; just pour it slowly through an opening between some of the vegetables).
Place the pan in the oven and roast the chicken for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the juices run clear. The internal temperature should be 160 degrees F at the thickest part.
Remove the chicken from the oven, and place it on a serving platter surrounded by the vegetables. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
Place the skillet on the stove top and heat the remaining liquid including the chicken broth and fat (scarping the bits from the bottom of the pan) on high heat for 2 minutes. Pour the juices over the chicken on the serving platter.