I wanted to make a roast chicken, but I didn’t want to rub it with oil and stuff it with herbs. I didn’t want to cook it on a bed of sliced onions or baste it with melted butter. I didn’t want to tuck anything under the skin.
And I didn’t want to take all day about it.
I did want a roast chicken, moist and flavourful with lemon and parsley; just without all those steps and messing about with the bird.
So I asked the butcher to cut the backbone and flatten the chicken for me so I could cook it without stuffing flavourful ingredients inside. Instead I would flavour from the outside.
I used a large cast iron pan, hot with oil and melted butter, lemon juice and parsley. After seasoning with plenty of salt and fresh black pepper I cooked the chicken breast-side down for 5 minutes, then transferred the entire pan to a very hot oven for 45 minutes. Once the chicken was nearly cooked, I turned it over and finished the roasting breast side-up.
After a rest on the counter, more lemon and parsley, and a some spoonfuls of lemony juices from the pan poured over the crispy meat, I had what I’d came for.
Flattened roast chicken with lemon and parsley.
*My chicken was not very large, so it cooked through with this method in an hour and a bit. Larger chickens will take longer; be sure it is cooked through before you set it out on the counter to rest. (The chicken’s internal temperature should be 165F/75C.) Cutting into your chicken and finding pink will not be nearly as satisfying as a fully cooked dinner.