Lately, roast chicken has been my go-to dish. I love it, because it is somewhat easy to put together and requires very little hands on time for such a beautiful end product that takes care of dinner for a couple of nights in our household. This recipe is a combination of several recipes and techniques that I tried and perfected over the last couple of months.
Prior to finding this method, I always had the same issue with roasting chicken: breast meat that was dry and flavorless. The problem was that after being exposed to a really high temperature in the oven, the breast meat would cook much earlier than the other parts, which resulted in most of the moisture being drawn out of the meat.
To prevent that, I tried some popular methods like rotating the bird in the middle of the process, browning it beforehand and continue with roasting it in lower temperatures, etc. But for some reason, none of those methods gave me what I was looking for.
Finding a Technique That Works
The solution came from America’s Test Kitchen (aka ATK). What they did was to roast the chicken in a pre-heated hot skillet for half an hour in a 450-degree oven (which is higher than many recipes suggest), then turn the oven off, and let the bird continue to roast for another 30 minutes or so. Turning off the oven when the meat was halfway roasted allowed the chicken to finish cooking gently without drying out.
I tried this technique and it was magical. While the breasts were moist and soft, the rest of the chicken was roasted perfectly. The only thing that I didn’t like was the fact that the skin wasn’t as crisp as I would have liked. When I looked into it, I found that there were many ways to get a super crisp skin. Brining the chicken for an hour was the most popular method. But, I didn’t want to wait for an hour. Another popular method was drying the bird using paper towels and letting it air-dry (some people even suggested putting it in front of a fan) on the kitchen counter. Once it was thoroughly dried, they seasoned it with a little bit of oil and salt and pepper. And that was what I did.
Adding Vegetables to Boost Flavor
As I was thinking about incorporating some vegetables into the recipe, I had to alter the technique of the ATK a little bit. Since I wanted to line the bottom of the pan with vegetables, I had to find a way to jump-start the roasting process. To do that, I browned both sides of the chicken on the stove for a couple of minutes. I transferred it on a plate while pre-cooking the vegetables to bring out their flavors. Then I placed the browned chicken on top of the vegetables (with all of its juices) and put it in the oven. I roasted it for 30 minutes, turned the oven off, and let it continue roasting for another 25-30 minutes. At the end, the chicken was evenly roasted and the vegetables, infused with the juices of the chicken, were tender and flavorful.
In terms of vegetables, I used parsnips, fennel, shallots, and lemon. But really, you can use any vegetable combination you like. Other options like carrots, potatoes, and onions would also work just as well.
More Chicken Recipes You might Like
Cuban Roast Cornish Game Hens
Braised Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Almond Puree
Chicken Rice Pilaf with Pine Nuts, Currants, and Herbs
Southwestern Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
Quick Chicken Stir Fry with Roasted Broccoli
Skillet Roast Chicken with Parsnips and Fennel
- 4 lbs. whole chicken
- 1 + 1 tablespoons of olive oil divided
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper preferably freshly ground
- 2 shallots peeled and chopped
- 1 fennel bulb sliced 1/2 inch thick slices
- 3-4 parsnips peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- Zest of a lemon
- 1 lemon sliced 1/4 inch thickness (plus more for serving)
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Using paper towels pat dry the whole chicken and let it air dry on the kitchen counter for 20-25 minutes. Rub it with 1 tablespoon of oil and season it generously with salt and pepper inside and out. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wing tips behind back. Set aside.
- Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or an oven-safe skillet) in medium heat for 2-3 minutes (The pan should be really hot). Place the chicken in the middle of the hot skillet breast side down and let the skin brown for 2 minutes. Using tongs, gently (being careful to not to tear the skin) rotate the chicken to brown the other side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the chicken and all the juices onto a plate. Do not wash the skillet.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet. Add the shallots, fennel slices, and parsnips. Cook, stirring occasionally 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and lemon zest, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Distribute the vegetables on an even layer and place the chicken in the middle, breast side up.
- Place the lemon slices and sprigs of thyme around the chicken.
- Transfer to the pre-heated oven.
- Roast chicken until breasts register 130 degrees when a thermometer is inserted from the side, 30-35 minutes.
- Turn the oven off and let the chicken continue to roast in the oven for another 25-30 minutes or until breasts register 160 degrees.
- Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before cutting. Serve chicken and vegetables with fresh lemon slices.
The inspiration for using parsnips and fennel as vegetables came from this recipe.
I’ve never tried browning a whole chicken in a pan before roasting! That sounds both intriguing and terrifying, hahaha. I have the same issue with the breast meat (we were just complaining about this 2 nights ago). I know what I need to do now.
Yay! Thank you Jennifer.
This roasted chicken is my go to recipe. The sweet parsnip and fennel works so well with the chicken.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
What a stunning and delicious sounding dish, Ice! Also, I’m terribly late on this but I absolutely love your new site! You’ve done an amazing job <3
Thank you Sini. I really appreciate your kind words.I worked on it quite a bit, but I too, feel as it was worth the time.
It is so nice to hear that talents I admire (such as yourself) also like it.
Hope you are enjoying the warm weather. Cheers!
Beeta @ Mon Petit Four
I absolutely love roast chicken, as it’s always been one of my mom’s specialties that I’ve enjoyed throughout my life. Your roast chicken looks beautiful and crispy! The skin looks absolutely tantalizing! 🙂 I love America’s Test Kitchen – they always give great tips.
Roast chicken was also one of the more difficult foods to master for me as well, and it wasn’t until I had my mom by my side, literally, throughout the entire process that I fully got her technique down. What I like to do is actually get the butcher to break up the chicken for me, and then I do my mom’s method of browning the pieces in a hot pan before I transfer them to the oven to finish baking at 350°F. I also lay the pieces of chicken all over big pieces of crusty french bread, which absorb the chicken juices and turn into tasty croutons! This has inspired me to do a roast chicken post!
Gorgeous job, Aysegul! <3
Oh my Beeta! That sounds incredible. I love the idea of the juices being absorbed by the crusty bread. I am drooling here. 😛
I also like to break up the chicken, and quite honestly it is much easier to do it that way. And pre browning is always a great idea for a crisp skin. Moms ROCK! I can’t wait to your recipe.
Thank you for your kind comments.
Cheers my friend!
I am bookmarking this!!!! I didn’t want to roast the whole chicken for the same reasons you had, but now I am going to roast it ALL THE TIME, Thanks to your wonderful post.
Your photos are so gorgeous; rustic & beautiful <3 <3 <3
Ha ha. It was much easier than I thought. Thank you Pang! Cheers..
I must confess that roast chicken is always a staple here at my house… it is the most cooked dish in my kitchen!! I loooove it!
We are the same way. My husband LOVES (!) chicken. So I am always looking for creative ways for cooking chicken.
I am so glad you liked it. I hope you’ll get a chance to give it a try.
All the best!
Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table
Though as a vegetarian, chicken doesn’t really do it for me no matter how crispy the skin is, I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to look at your beautiful images. And the new layout – just great! Well done!
I am kind of torn myself. Though I wouldn’t mind being a vegetarian, my husband wouldn’t consider it a meal if there is not some type of animal protein in the menu. So I have no choice, but to master the art of roasting chicken… :))
All jokes are aside, it means so much to me to hear this compliment from a vegetarian. I truly appreciate it.
Sending warm Caribbean sunshine to your way my friend.
I was just going through your blog taking in the new layout and about me page! I didn’t realize you were originally from Turkey…Istanbul has been on my travel list for quite some time. Your new blog showcases your work so beautifully, well done, you must feel so good, I’m happy for you! I love roasted chicken and I’m going to have to give this method a try, hugs
Yes I am from Turkey. Istanbul is lovely. I hope you’ll get a chance to visit someday soon.Though I have to tell you, I am so looking forward to visiting Italy next year. My husband and I are planning a Europe tour for 2016. Perhaps, we’ll meet someday…
Thank you so much for your kind words about the new website. Nowadays, there is nothing that makes me happier than to hear compliment it 😛