serves 4
difficulty Moderate
equipment
  • A cast iron skillet that's about 3 inches deep
  • a pastry brush for basting
  • a board or platter for resting and carving kitchen twine
author Elliott Shaffner
write-up Write Up
WEIGHT VOLUME QUANTITY INGREDIENT SCALING INSTRUCTIONS
3 1/2-4 lb   3 1/2-4 lb chicken (free range/organic and fresh)  
  1. rinse the chicken well (inside and out) and pat it dry with paper towels.
  2. tuck the wings up against the breast.
  3. poke tiny holes through the skin, everywhere with a toothpick or bbq skewer (this helps achieve super crispy skin).
  4. season 6 tbsp butter with 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, salt & pepper and mix together.
  5. carefully slide your hand underneath the chicken skin, and gently move over the breast and leg meat to create space between the skin and the meat. you don’t want to tear the skin, so try to keep your hand as flat as possible and work slowly if necessary. once you’ve created space, evenly distribute the butter beneath the skin.
  6. next, take 6 lemon slices and slide them underneath the skin, giving them a slight squeeze, and again evenly distributing them on top of the breast and thigh meat.
  7. take the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and gently rub it all over the outside skin of the chicken.
  8. salt and pepper the outside of the chicken and inside the cavity.
  9. drop 2 lemon slices, an onion, a bulb of garlic and any leftover herbs into the cavity, giving the slices a slight squeeze as you place them inside.
  10. tie the ends of the drumsticks together with twine.
  11. place the chicken breast up in the cast iron skillet.
  12. distribute the carrots, potatoes and onion around the bird.
  13. drizzle the red wine over the top of the whole thing.
  14. top chicken with sprigs of thyme.
  15. finally, squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon pieces all over the top of the chicken.
  16. place skillet in the oven, with the chicken legs pointed to the back of the oven.
  17. after 30 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  18. check on the chicken every fifteen minutes or so, and when you see it beginning to brown quickly on top, baste the chicken with the pan juices.
  19. roast the chicken for an hour, basting several times. the chicken will be done when the juices run clear and when the leg joint can be easily moved if wiggled. a thermometer inserted into the thick part of the thigh should read 180 degrees.
    salt and pepper  
  6 whole 6 whole fresh thyme sprigs (or sage (or rosemary, or all of them))  
  1 whole (large) 1 whole large lemon (cut in 1/8 inch slices (Meyer lemons if available))  
  8 tbsp 8 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature (divided)  
  1 whole 1 whole bulb garlic  
1/4 lb   1/4 lb mixed baby potatoes (yellow (red & purple))  
  1 bunch 1 bunch heirloom carrots (the more colors the better)  
1/4 lb   1/4 lb cipollini onions  
  1/2 cup 1/2 cup red wine  
  2 tbsp 2 tbsp olive oil