One of the basic underpinnings of economical cooking is to always buy food items as “least prepared” as possible. For instance, frozen chopped potatoes are usually more expensive than buying potatoes and chopping them yourself, because you essentially pay for the processing. When it comes to chicken, buying chicken breast cutlets would be the most expensive, and a whole chicken – you got it, the best buy.
I have a inexpensive, hand-me-down roasting pan and it’s stored in the basement because there’s no room in the kitchen. I found a snake once in my house; my mom recently found a snake in her basement. That means that now I, too, dislike going in my basement. I know this is the height of laziness, but I stopped buying chickens to roast because getting the roasting pan out and cleaning the rack afterward just pushed the whole thing over the edge into “let’s have omelettes-land”.
Turns out, you can roast chicken in a skillet! I used my stainless steel pan instead of nonstick as it’s just better with high heat cooking. I loved that this method (from America’s Test Kitchen) was so hands-off – once the bird goes into the oven your work is basically done! I made a gravy with the pan sauce but the crispy, salty skin was perfection and a sauce wasn’t necessary because the bird was so juicy. A roast chicken cooking in your house smells SO GOOD and the best part is that you can use the leftover bird to make your own stock (maybe this will be another post?). There is some stuff (organs, I think) in a paper bag inside the bird. I grab it and throw it out really fast without looking closely at anything; it’s not hard and I definitely used to think there was more to this process. If you’ve not mastered carving, here’s a video of the how-to. Have you ever heard a food called “man-catching”? Quite the old-fashioned idea but if this notion appeals to you, I’d say make him this chicken.
Easy Skillet Roast Chicken
3 1/2 – 5 lb. whole chicken
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1. Turn oven to 450 degrees and place a 12 inch, oven-safe skillet in oven.
2. Remove anything packed inside chicken cavity. Tie legs together with kitchen twine (optional). Dry chicken with paper towels. Rub the entire chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. When oven is preheated, remove skillet from oven and immediately place chicken, breast-side-up, in pan. Return to oven.
4. Cook for 30-35 minutes (3 1/2 lb. for less time, 5 lb. for more). Turn off oven but do not remove chicken. Let rest in oven for another 25-35 minutes.
5. If you have a meat thermometer, breast should register 160 degrees and thigh should register 175 degrees. Tips for doneness without a thermometer is if juices run clear (when the bird is pierced) or if the leg easily wiggles free and pops out when twisted away from the thigh.