There are many reasons to love the cookbook Heritage by Sean Brock. But one of the best reasons is this version of roast chicken. I have roasted many chickens in my lifetime, but this is arguably the one I love the most. It cooks very quickly. It is broken down into 2 halves with the back bone removed, seared over high heat then finished in a hot oven. The pan sauce with garlic and lemon that goes with it just gilds the lily.
The house smelled of garlic, lemon and crisping chicken skin. Although there were lots of splatters and heavy pots to contend with, it was well worth the mess. I have learned over the years that the more you mess up your stove and work space, the better the results on the table. It might be easier to open cans of already prepared sauces or broths, but the effort to make a dish from scratch is the way we were meant to eat.
The flowers of Spring are also reminders of the way things are supposed to be. Renewal through Spring buds. We are looking forward to returning to the season in the mountains of North Carolina. We have a few more weeks in Florida; friends will be visiting next week and then we have to get the house ready for showings. We are hoping that it will sell this Spring.
We really enjoyed this chicken. Hope that you will give it a try. Spring is in the air and we are thankful for the change in season.
CHICKEN SIMPLY ROASTED IN A SKILLET (Heritage by Sean Brock)
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 whole chicken (about 3 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup canola oil (or 1/4 cup if you brown the chicken in one pan)
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves cut into very thin strips
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
For the Garlic Confit: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut two 12-inch squares of aluminum foil and lay one pice on top of the other. Place the garlic cloves on the foil. Sprinkle with the sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour the olive oil over the garlic cloves. Shape the foil into a pouch by bringing the edges of the foil together over the garlic and sealing them. Flatten the bottom of the pouch so it will stay upright in the oven and place it on a baking sheet. Roast the garlic for about 30 minutes, until the cloves are very soft but not falling apart. Set the garlic aside in the pouch. Leave the oven on.
For the Chicken: Using kitchen shears, cut down along both sides of the backbone, then clip it out. Cut the wings off at the first joint. Split the chicken in half. Use paper towels to dry the skin. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a baking dish and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Place two 12-inch cast-iron skillets over high heat. When the skillets smoke, add 1/4 up of the canola oil to each. (I fit the chicken into 1 skillet with 1/4 cup oil.) As soon as the oil smokes, carefully add a half chicken to each skillet, skin side down. (Or add to one skillet if they both fit). Weight the chicken halves with another heavy skillet or pan so it stays flat and browns evenly. Cook the chicken, with the weights on it, until the skin is crispy and evenly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the weights.
Flip the chicken over, and place the skillet or skillets into the oven. Roast the chicken for about 20 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 155 degrees F. Place the chicken on plates to rest while you make the sauce.
For the Pan Sauce: Combine the roasting juices and fats from both skillets into one; set aside. Place the other skillet or a saucepan if you used just one skillet on the stove over medium heat. Pour 1 cup of the chicken stock into the skillet or saucepan and stir. Bring to a gentle boil and cook to reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining cup of stock and set aside.
Place the skillet with the roasting juices over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the juices and gently whisk it in until there are no lumps. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with the whisk; do not let the roux get too dark around the edge. Whisk in the the chicken stock, making sure to fully emulsify it. Increase the heat to high and bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-high and reduce the sauce until it coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley, lemon zest and juice, and 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil from the pouch of garlic and whisk to combine.
To Complete; Place the garlic and pan sauce over the chicken and enjoy.