As far as essential dishes go, a perfect roast chicken is something that everyone should know how to make. It’s an easy staple for weeknight meals, but also a great option for entertaining. We’ve learned a lot from our friend Hardy, winemaker at Dirty & Rowdy Family Winery. Two of the many life lessons he’s taught us are how to make and appreciate a perfect roast chicken, and the importance of a cast iron skillet. Check out his wines here, and be sure to sign up for their mailing list because they sell out as soon as they are released.
The key to getting a perfect, juicy roast chicken with golden crispy skin is to cook it with high heat, and then, after cooking to let it rest on a wine bottle. This allows the air to circulate around the chicken and lets the meat rest, without letting the skin sit in warm juices. If you don’t drink wine, you can use something like this, this, or this.
It’s also important that the chicken is dry. We line a quarter sheet pan with a few paper towels, put the chicken on the pan, and pat it dry with more paper towels. Leave it to sit out for a few minutes and air dry. Drizzle the chicken with a little olive oil and rub it all over, then season generously with salt and pepper, inside and out. Preheat your oven to 425 F and put your largest cast iron pan in the oven to get good an hot. Once the oven is heated, carefully place the chicken into the cast iron pan, breast side down, and roast for about an hour. You can use a thermometer to test doneness (165 F degrees), but we judge doneness by time, instinct, and how golden and crispy the skin looks.
When the chicken is finished cooking, very carefully remove it from the pan with tongs or folded up paper towels, and place it over a wine bottle. Be sure to have a sheet pan or plate underneath the bottle, as it will drip a lot. We used the bottle of “Stars Like Ours” Rose from Tank Garage Winery that we enjoyed while we cooked the chicken. Check out this winery next time you’re in Calistoga.
- Roasting chicken
- Olive oil
- pepper, freshly cracked
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place a large cast iron skillet on the lower oven rack.
- Remove the chicken from it’s packaging and make sure all the inner packaging is removed. Pat the chicken dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Allow the chicken to air dry for 15-20 minutes.
- Rub the chicken with extra virgin olive oil and season liberally with salt and freshly cracked pepper inside and out. Roast in the oven for 60-90 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165 F degrees and the juices run clear.
- Remove from the oven and rest over a wine bottle for 15 minutes before serving.