CHICKEN, WHOLE, SPLAYED AND COOKED IN CAST IRON
As seen in our July 2017 show, this chicken cooks in 30 minutes in cast-iron in a 500 ºF oven. We then cool to touch and pulled off the skin and meat; chopped them altogether to get white, dark and some skin for each portion. This was served with our trio of Tostadas each with a different topping that becomes united by the slow cooked chili sauce.
To “splay” a whole chicken, place onto a sheet pan; cut the thigh skin to release the legs. After they fall flat; bend them further to break at the join. Salt the skin heavily and place a 1/2 lemon and 1/2 head of garlic in the cavity. Let it sit uncovered in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
When ready to cook chicken, place into the cast-iron pan, taking care not to touch the salted skin. Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Place chicken inside and time for 30 minutes. At that time the breast should be near 155ºF and the leg and other dark meat about 165ºF. Remove to finish carry over cooking and to cool slightly before cutting into portions or extracting the meat for “pulled” chicken. Save the pan drippings for service because there is a lot of flavor there. It can be blended with the pulled chicken pieces.
STOCK: When the bones are picked of meat, simply place them in a large enough pot to hold them and cover with cold water to 1 inch over bones. Bring pot to boil, immediately reduce to simmer and maintain slow simmer for 60-90 minutes. Strain and return “stock” to pan for another 30-60 minutes, reducing the quantity by 1/2. Use with pan drippings when serving the next whole roasted splayed chicken or a soup base. Note that because we salted the skin the stock may be a little salty.