Well…this chicken…Of course I was too hungry and didn’t even think to take photos of this lovely bird resting in the cast iron skillet surrounded by lovely crunchy golden cubes of bread drenched in the golden broth of this beautiful bird. Combining those with the arugula dressed with a tangy vinegar mustard vinaigrette is pure heaven. And did I mention how the sweetness of the currants plays off with the saltiness of the chicken? This chicken is glorious and I don’t say those words lightly. It has always been a favorite and now with this super simplified method I do believe this might become a regular in my kitchen!
I do want to mention that to get the most out of this chicken it does require planning ahead. But then again all great dates require planning and this bird is one great date! It really is pretty simple and involves something so easily done as spatchcocking a chicken. In other words, one must cut the backbone out of the chicken which is easily done if you own a great pair of kitchen shears. Which you should. They are one of my favorite tools! After that it is a matter of salting this baby and resting her on a rack in the fridge overnight.This technique not only flavors this girl perfectly, it also allows the skin to air dry which makes for a super crisp chicken when she emerges from the oven.
This is a perfect weekend dish. And with any luck you may even have enough for a second date! Oh…the possibilities!
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Roast Chicken with Bread Salad is simple and divine. Roast chicken over artisan bread cubes that become crispy while baking and then tossed with salad makes this one dish meal fabulous!
1 4 lb whole chicken
Morton Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
8 ounces country style artisan bread, bottom crust removed, cut into 1″ pieces (You should have about 5 cups)
1/4 c chicken broth
6 T plus 2 t extra virgin olive oil
2 T champagne vinegar
1 t Dijon mustard
4 scallions, sliced thin
2 T dried currants
5 c baby arugula or baby lettuce
Place chicken, breast side down on cutting board. Cut out the backbone of the chicken. Discard. Flip chicken over and press on breastbone to flatten.
Using your fingers, carefully loosen skin covering breasts and legs. Rub 1/2 t salt under skin of each breast and 1/2 t salt under skin of each leg. Rub 1/2 t of salt into the cavity of the bird. Tuck wings behind back and turn legs so drumsticks face toward breasts. Place chicken on wire rack which has been placed on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate uncovered for 24 hours.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475. Spray a 12″ cast iron skillet with cooking spray. Toss bread with broth and 2 T oil until pieces are evenly moist. Arrange bread in skillet in single layer, with majority of crusted pieces near center, crust side up.
Place chicken, skin side up, on top of bread. Brush with 2 t of oil and sprinkle with 1/4 t salt and 1/4 t pepper. Roast until chicken skin is deep golden brown. This should take about 45-50 minutes and you should rotate the skillet halfway through roasting. If your chicken is larger, please use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. The thickest part of the breast should register 160 and the thighs at 175.
While chicken roasts, whisk vinegar, mustard, 1/4 t salt and 1/4 t pepper together in a small mixing cup. Whisk in remaining 1/4 c olive oil. Stir in scallions and currants and set aside.
Transfer chicken to carving board and let rest uncovered for 15 minutes. Run a metal spatula under bread in skillet. You should have a nice mixture of soft and golden brown crispy pieces. Add salad to the skillet. Carve chicken and whisk any juices into the vinaigrette. Add vinaigrette to salad and toss to evenly coat salad and bread. Transfer salad to platter and serve with chicken.
Prep Time Does Not Include the 24 hour resting time in the refrigerator.
Thanks Judy Rodgers and Cooks Illustrated.
Keywords: chicken, roast chicken, dinner, mains, bread salad, cast iron cooking