Best Roast Chicken Recipe

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My Best Roast Chicken Recipe in a Cast Iron Skillet has several innovative ideas, that take a good roast chicken to greatness.

My Best Roast Chicken Recipe in a Cast Iron Skillet has several innovative ideas, that take a good roast chicken to greatness.

Nom, Nom, Nom.


This recipe is a hybrid of the roast chicken recipes of three great chefs: Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, and Colman Andrews. Fairly early in my marriage, I figured out that one of the most basic things a cook needs to be able to do right is to roast a chicken. It’s simple. It’s basic. But, it’s telling, also.  If you can roast a chicken right, then chances are good you can do other things well, too. So I set about researching the roast chicken, and went looking for the very best roast chicken recipes. I found a wonderful article in an old issue of Gourmet magazine where Julia Child and Jacque Pepin did a throwdown on roast chicken. I liked both their recipes, but neither one was perfect for me.

The favorite idea that I gathered from those efforts was that using my cast iron skillet gave me very nice results. So, I decided that idea was a keeper.

I also liked the idea of using vegetables as a rack for the chicken to roast on, allowing the vegetables to receive the drippings from the chicken as blessings from above, packed with flavor.

Best Roast Chicken in a Cast Iron Skillet has many innovative ideas, that take a simple Roast Chicken from Good, to GREAT. #chicken #roastchicken #oven #castiron #onepan

Best Roast Chicken in a Cast Iron Skillet has many innovative ideas, that take a simple Roast Chicken from Good, to GREAT.

Then, I stumbled on a book by Colman Andrews, where he gives his wife’s recipe for what she calls “Homecoming Chicken”. She came up with a recipe that she could leave in the oven while she drove to the airport to pick him up on Friday nights. I liked a LOT about her recipe, including tucking minced garlic up under the skin of the bird, where it won’t get burned and bitter, but adds spectacular flavor. And I especially love the addition of a nice white wine, used for basting the chicken about halfway through the recipe.

Herbes de Provence, an ingredient I use in this recipe, I USED to have to purchase at Williams Sonoma. I now see it in regular grocery stores, in the spice aisle. (I still purchase mine at Williams Sonoma, anyway, because I like their blend.) If you want to make do with what you have in your pantry, it is an herb blend, and here’s a recipe for making your own from Gofrance. (I have never tried making this myself, but I thought I’d do what I could for anyone who wanted to give it a go, but didn’t want to buy a special ingredient. You could certainly omit the lavender, or whatever else you might not have on hand.

  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground rosemary
  • 1 tsp summer savory
  • 1/2 tsp lavender (optional but traditional)
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

When I make this recipe, my house is filled with an aroma that has been known to trigger salivary glands in the next county. And lest you think I exaggerate, my kids have left our house having eaten this for dinner to attend a Bible study with their Dad, where they have had kids follow them around sniffing them,  saying, “Wow. You smell delicious. What did you have for dinner????”

So, here is my hybrid recipe, courtesy of Julia and Jacques and Colman, for Roasted Chicken, à la *that* Susan Williams.

*that* Susan Williams’ Roast Chicken Recipe in a Cast Iron Skillet

*that* Susan Williams Best Roast Chicken Recipe in a Cast Iron Skillet
A delicious roast chicken recipe, with several innovations that take a simple roast chicken from being good, to great!
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  1. 1 3-4 lb. roasting chicken
  2. 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  3. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 1 T. Herbes de Provence
  6. 1 T. coarse salt
  7. 2 t. freshly ground black pepper
  8. 1/2 lemon
  9. 4 medium potatoes, cut into eighths
  10. 2 large carrots, cut into sticks 3" long and 1/2" thick
  11. 4 shallots, peeled and separated into cloves
  12. 1 c. dry, full bodied white wine
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400º.
  2. Place potatoes, carrots, and shallots in a large cast iron skillet. Toss with about a T. of olive oil, and some salt and pepper.
  3. Place rosemary sprigs in cavity of chicken, and tie his/her little drumsticks together with some cotton kitchen twine.
  4. Slide your fingers in between the the breast skin and the breasts, gently separating the two. Push minced garlic underneath skin. Rub surface of chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle with Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon juice over top of chicken, and then insert lemon into cavity of chicken. Place chicken on top of vegetables and roast uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and pour wine over top of chicken, roasting for about another half hour, or until meatiest part of chicken breast registers 160º.
Adapted from several great chefs
Adapted from several great chefs
That Susan Williams


Best Roast Chicken in a Cast Iron Skillet has many innovative ideas, that take a simple Roast Chicken from Good, to GREAT.

The Elegant Bird on its nest of roasted vegetables in a wine sauce.


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How do you roast your chicken?

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  1. This recipe is excellent. I used a 4.4 pound, fresh organic chicken. A chardonnay for the wine. Fingerling potatoes. Very helpful to have a digital thermometer to keep tabs on the temperature. Thank you. This is certainly a keeper and will make again!

  2. nice

  3. This recipe is excellent. I use the 4.4 pound, fresh organic chicken. One for the Chardonnay.

  4. Just tried this recipe and it was wonderful. Didn't have wine so skipped it. Hubby kept mentioning how good it was. That tells you how good my efforts at roasting a chicken have been in the past.

  5. How large is your cast iron skillet?

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