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Flat Roasted Chicken


Everything's better cooked on a cast iron skillet! Follow the directions for preparing your bird, and you can use grandma's frying pan to roast a succulent chicken.

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  • 1 whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, backbone removed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Servings 6
Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 80mins


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using the kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone to remove. Reserve it for broth. Open the chicken’s legs and spread the bird down flat, skin side up. Press down firmly on the breastbone to latten it. Pat it dry with paper towel. Salt and pepper generously both sides.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet such as a cast iron on high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Immediately add the chicken, skin side down. Allow to brown (without moving) for 3 minutes. Turn the chicken over, careful not to break the skin, and transfer the skillet to the oven.
The chicken is done when it is golden brown and cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes. An instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part, not touching bone, should read 165 degrees F. Remove the chicken to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan drippings and swirl around.
Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, the red pepper flakes, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cut the chicken into pieces, drizzle with the fresh lemon sauce and pan sauce, and serve immediately.

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