Hot skillet lemon chicken. It’s reason enough to own a large (13 – 15″) cast-iron skillet and a pair of cooking shears.
This one-pan cool weather chicken gets the benefit of a lemony sauce that summer grilled chicken misses. Chicken broth, white wine, lemon slices, rosemary and sage, garlic and shallot, a little butter and olive oil all cook down beneath the chicken into a flavorful easy sauce. Simple. And with a hot cast iron skillet, you still get the great crispy chicken skin crust of grilled chicken.
To prep the meat, just cut out the backbone and flatten the bird before searing the skin in the skillet. Spatchcock is the term for that or butterflying. The goal is to get as much of the skin in contact with the pan as possible before flipping the bird over and braising in the oven with the sauce.
About the large cast-iron skillet. While large and heavy, it’s more than a handsome wall decoration or a prop at Civil War reenactment day. Perhaps not an everyday kitchen tool, but for some things, there is no replacement. The best example is thin and crispy southern cornbread. Clean with hot water and a stiff brush, no soap, no dishwasher. Season with a light coat of oil and all the bacon you can manage to cook in it.
- 1 whole fryer chicken (@ 4 lbs), rinsed and excess skin and fat removed
- Kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 shallots or one medium onion, diced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 lemon sliced, skin left on
- 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
- 2 teaspoons chopped sage
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
Heat the oven to 425F. Remove the backbone from the chicken with a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Turn the chicken over and with your hands and flatten the chicken on a cutting board. Lean hard into the bird when you press down. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Heat the butter and oil in the skillet over medium-high heat.
Place the chicken in the pan skin side down and press it down into the pan to make good contact. Sear the chicken until it turns golden brown, 6 or 8 minutes, and do not let the skin burn.
Removed the chicken to a plate and remove all but about a tablespoon of fat from the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallots (or onion) and garlic and sauté until soft, 3 or 4 minutes. Add the rosemary, sage and white wine and increase the heat to medium-high and boil off some of the wine.
Place the chicken in the pan and add the broth to the pan.
Place the pan in the oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer reaches 175-180F in the thickest part of the thigh, about 40 minutes.
Remove the bird to a cutting board and let it rest a few minutes before carving. To preserve the crisp skin do not cover the chicken.
Serve the chicken with the pan juices and lemon slices.