As terrific as a simple roast chicken can be, sometimes my palate (and my blog page) want to experience something less predictable. So I’ll try something new. This Skillet-Seared Roast Chicken method is new (to me).
- 1 whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds)
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper (as needed for seasoning)
- 3 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
- 1 fennel bulb (core intact, sliced lengthwise ½” thick)
- 2 parsnips (peeled, sliced ½” thick on the diagonal)
- 2 leeks (dark green parts trimmed away, then cut lengthwise in quarters, rinsed, with roots left intact)
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
- 2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- ½ cup chicken broth
- homemade croutons (for serving)
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Season the inside of the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Truss or tie the bird, as you see fit, to make the browning process easier. Season the outside all over with more salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, but not yet smoking, lay the chicken breast side up into the hot skillet. Cook, without disturbing, until the skin is golden brown and releases easily from the skillet. Use tongs and/or oven mitts to gently rotate the chicken, being careful not to tear the skin until brown on all sides, 12–15 minutes total. Take your time and brown it well for best results. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate, breast side up. Turn the heat off but reserve the skillet.
Toss fennel, parsnips, leeks, rosemary, and lemon zest into the hot skillet with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place chicken, breast side up, on top of the vegetables. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken thigh registers 165°F, about 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the skillet with the roasted vegetables on a burner set to medium-high heat. Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off and let flavors in the pan sauce come together while you carve the bird.
Serve chicken, vegetables, and croutons with the pan sauce for spooning on top.