I've been ordering organic produce from Imperfect Foods and I noticed they had pasture raised and slow raised chicken that had already been spatchcocked. I was thrilled. Spatchcocking is when the backbone of the chicken is removed and the chicken therefore lays flat, making it much quicker to cook. Spatchcocked chickens roast in about 45 minutes, making them a perfect weeknight meal.
I already knew which recipe I wanted to make. You guessed it...Ina Garten's Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken. This is so incredibly easy and quick. All you need to do is get out your cast iron skillet and slice up some lemon, onion, and garlic. Then you make an oil rub with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and ground fennel. This rub gets brushed on both sides of the chicken and then you just stick it in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes you simply take it out and pour a half cup of Pinot Grigio around the chicken and roast for another 15 minutes. When you remove the chicken from the oven you squeeze an entire lemon over it, and it is ready for the table. That's it! You have a really nice roast chicken dinner in no time at all!
This chicken was cooked perfectly. It was a wonderful golden brown on the outside and fall off the bone tender. I didn't even have to try to cut it apart. I loved the combination of flavors from the oil rub and I really loved those cooked onions and lemons in the bottom of the pan. Everything was so delicious and succulent. Highly recommend this dish, especially for a quick weeknight meal this fall!
Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken
Adapted from Cooking for Jeffrey
by Ina Garten
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
salt and ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 lemon, halved and sliced 1/4" thick
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced 1/4" thick
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (4-pound) chicken, backbone removed and butterflied
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
Juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 450F. Place the thyme, fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a mini food processor and process until ground. Pour the olive oil into a small glass measuring cup, stir in the herb mixture, and set aside.
Distribute the lemon slices in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet and distribute the onion and garlic on top. Place the chicken, skin side down, on top of the onion and brush with about half the oil and herb mixture. Turn the chicken skin side up, pat it dry with paper towels (very important!), and brush it all over with the rest of the oil and herb mixture.
Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan (not on the chicken!) and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155 to 160 degrees.
Remove the chicken from the oven, sprinkle it with the lemon juice, cover the skillet tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the chicken into quarters or eights, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot with the pan juices, cooked lemon, and onion.