Cast Iron Classic Roast Chicken with Lemon-Thyme Pan Sauce
Why This Recipe Works
Roast chicken is often described as a simple dish, but the actual process—brining or salting, trussing, and turning—is anything but easy. We wanted a truly simple way to get roast chicken on the table in just an hour without sacrificing flavor. We quickly realized that trussing was unnecessary; we could simply tie the legs together and tuck the wings underneath the bird. We also found we could skip flipping the chicken during cooking by taking advantage of the great heat retention of cast iron. We cooked the chicken breast side up in a preheated skillet to give the thighs a head start and allow the skin to crisp up. Starting in a 450-degree oven and then turning the oven off while the chicken finished cooking slowed the evaporation of juices, ensuring moist, tender meat, even without brining or salting. A traditional pan sauce pairing lemon and thyme was the perfect complement, and it took just minutes to make while the chicken rested. Pan drippings contributed meatiness, and finishing the sauce with butter gave it the perfect velvety texture.