It seems impossible to make this statement, but I’m going to… this is my favorite meal that Aaron makes. Which should come as no surprise since it’s an adaptation of one of my favorite meals from back home: Zuni Café Chicken. Zuni Café is something of an institution in San Francisco and their chicken has forged a cult following. A cult I’m a proud member of. For the complete Zuni experience you'll want to pair it with their signature bread salad, which Aaron has made in the past and it was epic, but we’ll get to that in a future post. In the meantime, the technique learned while replicating the Zuni Chicken is now the only acceptable way to roast a chicken in our house. It involves some prep time – 2 days in fact – but don’t let that dissuade you. Once you bite into this succulent and flavorful chicken, you’ll appreciate the advance planning. It’s never too salty, never dry and always delicious.
The chicken can be paired with any vegetable really, but this time we went with roasted brussels sprouts. Even better, roasted brussels sprouts with bacon. Because everything is better with bacon, right?
// RECIPE //
Cast Iron Skillet Roasted Whole Chicken
- One 3 pound chicken
- 2 tablespoons of salt (flavored or regular) & 2 tablespoons pepper (mixed together)
- 8 sprigs fresh herbs – thyme, rosemary, sage
:: 2 days in advance ::
- Place chicken on a cutting board.
- Using your finger, separate chicken from the skin above the chicken breast, making a small pocket.
- Flip chicken and repeat on the other side of the chicken.
- Take a mix of the fresh herb sprigs and place them in all four pockets.
- Place chicken in a baking or casserole dish and rub with salt & pepper mix.
- Place in the fridge, loosely covered with plastic wrap for 2 days.
:: Day of cooking ::
- Remove chicken from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- When chicken and oven are ready, warm cast iron skillet on the stove over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan.
- Place chicken in skillet, breast side up (will sizzle).
- Place in oven, baste with juice, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Flip chicken, baste again with juice, and cook 15 minutes.
- Flip chicken, baste, and cook 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Carve, serve, enjoy!
Brussels Sprouts with Apple and Bacon
- 1 pound brussels sprouts
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1 Granny Smith Apple, cored & chopped into 1/2” cubes
- 6 slices smoked bacon, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped onions
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place sprouts, olive oil, salt, pepper and powders in an 8” x 8” roasting pan, mix together.
- Roast in oven for 45 minutes. Mix once after 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven.
- Heat a nonstick pan over med-high heat.
- Add bacon and cook until fat starts to melt, 3-4 minutes.
- Add apple and cook for 4 more minutes.
- Place roasted sprouts in pan and cook until reheated, approx. 8 minutes.