Use a cast iron skillet to roast a whole chicken to perfection, Italian diavolo-style, with garlic, red chili and butter.
Roasting a whole chicken is probably my number one favorite thing to do with the bird, hands down.
This little chicken is seasoned under the skin with a tasty butter which is flavor-boosted with lots of red chili and garlic, then roasted in a cast iron skillet.
It’s fiendishly good, just like the Italian word for devil — diavolo.
Sometimes I season chicken for roasting with grainy Dijon mustard mixed with some chopped tarragon, making sure to smear plenty of the mixture under the skin.
Other times there’s nothing better than a plain roasted chicken popped into the oven with just salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon.
The skillet goes from stovetop to oven (and straight to the table, sometimes) which simplifies things even more.
You can easily find pre-seasoned cast iron pans but when I bought mine oh-so-many-years ago that wasn’t an option.
Those pans are treasured tools in my kitchen for sure, with a patina that bears witness to half my lifetime of cooking.
I’ve made everything from pancakes to frittatas to deep-dish pizzas in them, and when I was first learning to cook, my 10-inch pan was the only thing I cooked in aside from a pasta pot.
This chicken is super juicy and just a little spicy, not too much to set your mouth on fire, though.
The warm juices are delicious over tender parsley sprigs, making a softly wilted salad you can serve with toasted crusty bread, pasta or couscous.
Be sure to let the chicken rest 10 – 15 minutes before carving and serving for the best juicy meat.
- 1 whole chicken 3 - 3 1/2 pounds, backbone removed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons softened butter
- 1 tablespoon pressed garlic (3 - 4 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
- 1 teaspoon crushed chili flakes, or to taste
- A few handfuls parsley sprigs, tough stems trimmed
- Heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes while the oven preheats.
- Combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, butter, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, chopped thyme and chili in a small bowl to make a creamy paste. Using your fingers, carefully loosen the skin on the breasts and rub some of the mixture in between. Rub the remaining paste all over the chicken, including a bit in the cavity. Season the skin with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
- Heat a 10- or 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy-duty ovenproof pan over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles and instantly evaporates. Add the remaining tablespoon olive oil, then lay the chicken in the pan, skin side down.
- Cook 10 minutes without moving the chicken. The skin should start to turn golden brown - adjust the heat so the pan doesn't become too hot and burn the skin.
- Transfer chicken to the oven and roast 30 minutes. Carefully turn the chicken over and roast an additional 15 - 20 minutes, until the legs wiggle easily and juices run clear. Let chicken rest at least 10 minutes before carving. Serve on a platter on top of parsley.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 560 Total Fat: 42g Saturated Fat: 14g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 24g Cholesterol: 162mg Sodium: 809mg Carbohydrates: 2g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 0g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 42g