Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cast Iron Skillet Roasted Cut Up Chicken

A whole chicken, cut up, seared and roasted in a cast iron skillet with tarragon, thyme and fresh rosemary and lemon slices.
A whole chicken, cut up, seared and roasted in a cast iron skillet with tarragon, thyme and fresh rosemary and lemon slices.

Cast Iron Skillet Roasted Cut Up Chicken

Chicken is so economical, and we eat a lot of it in this house.

I often buy the big family packs of chicken pieces and split them up, or whole chickens when they go on sale for 99 cents a pound and under, cut them up and freeze them. Leg quarters, drumsticks, wings, whatever is on sale, I know I'll find a use for it. Sometimes we'll make a meal out of wings!

My least favorite piece of chicken, and the one I don't buy very often, are the ever popular boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

I do buy them when they are on sale or a BOGO, of course, but I'd much rather pick up bone-in breasts on sale and bone them myself after cooking, because there is a lot more flavor to them.

I can remember a time when that's what you had to do if you wanted boneless and skinless chicken breasts!

To me, one of the most intoxicating kitchen fragrances comes from a chicken or turkey roasting in the oven, and that's my favorite way to cook a cut up chicken too.

Folks often only think of a whole chicken when the subject of roasting comes up, and don't often do it because it can seem a little intimidating. A cut-up chicken is much more manageable and is readily available already cut up for you.

Simple and classic, cooked in the same method as a whole chicken, but cut up into 8 to 10 pieces, skin-on and bone-in y'all, and simply sprinkled with salt, pepper, and a light sprinkle of Cajun seasoning, if you're so inclined, with some smashed garlic cloves, lemon slices, and a bit of tarragon, thyme and rosemary tossed in. Classic, simple and delicious.

Here's how to do it.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. If your oven tends to run very hot, you can reduce down to 375.

Heat 1-1/2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large cast iron skillet. Season chicken on both sides with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning. 

Brown chicken, skin side down, in batches, over medium heat. Remember you are not cooking the chicken, you are only starting the browning process.

Carefully remove the skillet from the heat and return all pieces of chicken to the skillet, skin side up. Sprinkle with tarragon and thyme. Dot butter on top and scatter 4 medium sized smashed garlic cloves and lemon slices from one lemon all over the top. Add a couple of fresh rosemary sprigs or some dried rosemary.

Place into center rack of the oven and roast at 425 degrees F, basting occasionally with pan drippings, about 30 minutes for a whole cut up, bone-in chicken, or until juices run clear when pierced with the tip of knife.

Cooking time will depend on the size of the pieces and how hot your oven cooks. If your oven tends to cook hot, reduce temperature to 375 degrees F. You may need up to 50 to 55 minutes for large, whole leg quarters and about 15 to 20 minutes for large boneless breasts.

The most important thing with chicken is to always check internal temperature with an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part, and not touching any bone. Chicken should register 165 degrees F for breast meat and 175 degrees F for thighs and legs on an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part, and not touching any bone.

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Posted by on December 10, 2013
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