Roasted chicken is a comfort meal that speaks to all regions of the U.S. It’s an important recipe that every cook should have in their repertoire. Not only is it an economical way to feed the fam, but it’s also a double do-er. There are countless ways to season & eat the meat AND you can save the bones to make stock. After years of dry, flavorless roast chicken attempts, I feel like I’ve (humbly) perfected the roast chicken.
- 1 whole chicken, somewhere around 8 lbs
- 1 lime, zested & juiced
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 3 green onions, roughly chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 c olive oil
- butter or lard for greasing
Get your chicken out of the fridge pronto. It’s ultra, super important, for the most moist roasted chicken ever created, that you bring the chicken to room temperature. Think about it this way, if you stick the chicken in the oven straight out of the refrigerator, at least 1/2 of the time it’s cooking, you’re actually trying to bring the temperature of the chicken up…and by doing it this way, you’re getting different temperatures within different parts of the chicken, so some parts cook faster than others, resulting in dryyyyyy chicken.
Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
Now we’re going to split the chicken in half — trying to get it to lay flat as it can. Splitting the chicken in half is just another trick that will help the chicken cook faster, thus keeping it moist. Using a pair of kitchen shears, or a cleaver, cut the chicken along its back (not the breast side), making sure you start cutting to the side of the backbone, don’t actually cut into the chicken’s backbone. Sit the chicken on the counter to give yourself a sturdy base and start at the neck opening, cutting down towards the end at the tailbone. The chicken will look like it’s doing a split — sort of. Lay the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan or large oven-safe baking dish.
In your food processor, puree the lime zest & juice, green onions, garlic, olive oil and salt. Also add the cilantro, but I want you to include the stems, along with the leaves. Think of it as nose-to-tail cilantro use. Smear the mixture all over the top of the chicken. Use the time it takes the chicken to come to room temperature as marinade time too.
Clean off the bottom of a cast iron pan and lightly grease it with oil. Stick the chicken in the oven and place the bottom of the cast iron pan on the top of the chicken. This allows the oven heat to cook the chicken from the bottom and the cast iron pan to crisp the chick from the top. Bake until the temperature in the thigh of the chicken is around 150-165ºF. It should take about 45 minutes. Carefully remove the cast iron pan from the top of the chicken, and if you’d like the skin crispier, just stick the oven on broil and peek at the chicken every minute until it’s done to your liking.