Pictured is the dinner I made last night and it was outstanding! The breast meat was exceptionally tasty and tender as were the legs. The carrot’s sweetness was enhanced and the potatoes were soft and rich. As a bonus there was a nice pan gravy to pour over it all. I used a 4 1/2 pound LaBelle-Patrimoine Heritage chicken, organic carrots and organic yellow potatoes roasted in a vintage 13″ cast iron skillet. The chicken did not come trussed (legs tied together) and I didn’t have any twine on hand so I decided to wing it and prepare the bird in her un-lady like position. This ending up working to my advantage and you’ll see why in my recipe I’m sharing with you here.
4 – 5 lb raw whole chicken, washed, cavity cleaned and cleared. There is controversy over washing a chicken due to the potential for splashing water which spreads bacteria in your kitchen and the fact that properly cooked chicken should be free of bacteria. That’s nice if your chicken doesn’t come wrapped in plastic. I don’t know of any that aren’t unless it’s from your own farm. There’s more to wash off than microscopic critters! Wash! No splashing!
1 pound cut up peeled yellow potatoes
1/2 pound cut up carrots
2 tbsp sunflower oil (if you use a different oil make sure it doesn’t smoke at high heat)
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt (you can add more at the table)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the sunflower oil in a 12″ or 13″ cast iron skillet. Add the carrots and potatoes, then mix well with a large cooking spoon until they are lightly coated with oil. Push them away from the center with your spoon and place the chicken in the middle. Sprinkle the rosemary, onion powder and salt evenly on the chicken, potatoes and carrots. Pour one cup of water into the skillet. Place in the 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Turn oven down to 375 degrees, remove the pan from the oven (and close the oven door) and place on your cold stovetop. With your spoon gently tilt the chicken so that juices run out from where the rest of the world has the legs tied together. Add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Now! Baste the bird with the drippings mixed with the water, then mix the potatoes and carrots in with the drippings. Return to the 375 degree oven and repeat this process every ten minutes: tilt the bird to release drippings, add water (but adjust as needed so that the gravy isn’t soupy!), baste the bird and mix the potatoes and carrots. You will be rewarded with a beautiful gravy that is naturally thickened by the potato starch! It’s done with a thermometer reads 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh. Total time is about one hour and twenty minutes.
Caveats! My cast iron skillet, because it is vintage, was machine finished meanings it’s mirror smooth and very well seasoned making it more non-stick than contemporary pans. You might have to use more oil. Additionally I have a small wall oven so that your cooking time may be longer. You may need to add more or less water to have enough to baste the bird and have a nice gravy. I’m not a chef just a home cook with an attitude so proceed with a sense of adventure.
Update: I was contacted by one of the family farmers who saw my recipe on my blog and was asked if they could feature it on their website! I of course was flattered and gave them permission!