I have stumbled upon a chicken secret that I have found to be quite magnificent.
This upside down cast iron roasted chicken recipe is the tastiest and fastest way to roast a beautiful chicken!
One night while my husband and little one were fast asleep, I lay awake in the living room enjoying some mommy time. I was flipping through the channel guide and happened to notice an episode of “I’ll have what Phil’s having” on PBS. I was stopped in my tracks because it said he was eating his way through Paris. I turned the channel and he was eating a croissant at a cafe with the ever-popular and amazing food blogger and cookbook author David Lebovitz. David took him to the most incredible pastry shop in all of Paris. I began to drool incessantly, but it got even better…
On one of his last stops, he dined at Chez L’Ami Louis, which is known for having the best roasted chicken in all of Paris. Roasted chicken is a sacred national dish in France, so I KNEW this had to be good!
RESOURCES FOR THE BEST ROASTED CHICKEN EVER
- Le Creuset ceramic pan
- Or a cast iron skillet
- And duck fat, chicken fat, or butter is all you need to make the only roasted chicken (or turkey!) recipe you’ll ever need.
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But the technique itself is just as important.
The secret to the best roasted chicken was simple.
Start with a REALLY hot oven, and bake the chicken UPSIDE DOWN in a cast iron skillet basted with duck fat. Cooking the chicken upside down protects the breast from drying out because the fattier dark meat is basting the breast the entire time and it’s not exposed to direct oven heat. The recipe also called for goose fat, but that’s harder to come by so I just used duck fat. Chicken fat, bacon fat, or butter would also be a great substitute because the cooking technique itself is what really matters.
Below is what the chicken looks like breast side down.
Next is a photo of what it looks like out of the oven, breast side down again. You can see that you get plenty of crispy skin on the bottom!
Then I turned it over and popped it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes to get some caramelization on the breast meat. Don’t walk away at this point because you could easily burn the skin!
Bon Appetit Ya’ll,
Upside Down Cast Iron Roasted Chicken
This roasted chicken recipe is adapted from a legendary bistro in Paris known for having the best roast chicken in all of France!
- 1 Whole Chicken (weight varies but I used a 6 pound chicken and it fit in my 9.5 inch wide cast iron skillet
- 2 Tbsp Duck fat chicken fat, bacon fat, or butter can be substituted
- salt and pepper
- half of one lemon
- A few sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
- Cast Iron Skillet
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place a rack in the middle position. Put the cast iron skillet on the rack to preheat as well. This will help to get a nice crust to form on the breast.
Rinse the chicken and check the cavity for the neck and gizzards. You may keep them in the cavity (be sure to remove any packaging) for added flavor to the bird or you can freeze them and use to make gravy.
Dry the chicken with paper towels really well.
Place a half of one lemon and a few thyme sprigs in the cavity and season the entire bird with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme. Rub the bird with duck fat, chicken fat, bacon fat, or butter.
Place the bird breast side down in the hot cast iron skillet. If there is any room in the pan, you can roast whole carrots or quartered onions too!
Bake breast side down until the thermometer reaches 160 degrees F. It's best to remove the skillet and turn the bird over to insert the thermometer in the breast to check the temperature.
When the bird reaches 160 degrees F, turn the chicken over and turn on the broiler breast side up. Let broil 3-5 minutes to help the skin on the breast to crisp. As an option, right before flipping the bird to breast side up, you can remove the chicken from the skillet and pour the juices in a saucepan so that the bottom of the bird stays crispy. You can simmer the juices for a couple of minutes to ensure they are cooked through. Serve on the side of the chicken.
Once the chicken is under the broiler DON'T WALK AWAY, it can easily burn. It should take 3-5 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the skillet and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.