Roasted chicken is one of those things that, when done well, is insanely good. It doesn’t seem possible to not do roast chicken well, but I’ve had my fair share of recipe flops – flavorful skin but bland meat, skin that’s not crispy enough, a chicken that is cooked through in some parts and not in others. I made a roasted chicken a couple years ago that I love, but that one has since been dethroned by this one. Enter spatchcocked roasted chicken, aka the only roasted chicken I’ll ever make.
This meal is the epitome of what I always imagined Sunday dinners would be like. Those weren’t something I had growing up, but I remember knowing people that did and lusting after what I assumed to be an idyllic meal. The foods I remember most from my teenage years range from Totino’s pizzas and Bagel Bites to those boxed meals that you just add chicken to and bake in one dish. Not exactly Sunday dinner worthy. While we may not ever have those perfect Sunday dinners I longed for when I was younger, I hope that Clara will still be able to look back on her childhood with lots of good memories of us cooking and eating together. And hey, I did make this on a Sunday, so I guess we’re on the right track.
Let’s talk about this chicken. It’s got crispy skin, juicy and flavorful meat, and it cooks in 45 minutes or less. How’s that for a perfect roast chicken? Even better, the potatoes cook while the chicken does (and with chicken fat dripping on them, they’re especially awesome), so you’ve got an instant side dish. Roast some broccoli or toss together a quick salad, and you’re set. One thing to note: don’t skimp on the salt. There’s very little seasoning on the chicken, so make sure to salt it generously. The same goes for freshly ground black pepper. You can do a ton with your leftover chicken – taquitos, chicken pizza, chicken salad, etc. – so this meal will go even further.
- COOK TIME:
1 (3-3½ pound) whole chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ pounds small potatoes, halved
2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
Heat the oven to 450º. Cut out the backbone of the chicken using a pair of sharp kitchen scissors, then cut through the cartilage to flatten the breast. Watch this video if you need a visual.
Generously season the cavity with salt and pepper, then transfer the chicken to a 12-inch cast iron skillet or a roasting pan, placing the chicken breast-side up. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel, then generously season the skin with more salt and pepper.
Toss together the melted butter, potatoes and more salt and pepper in a large bowl. Scatter the potatoes around the chicken. Roast the chicken for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring the potatoes halfway through. The chicken is done when the thighs reach 165ºF.
Remove the dish from the oven. Squeeze the lemon all over the chicken, then sprinkle with fresh thyme. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes (if you can wait that long; I certainly couldn’t) before carving and serving.