One pan easy garlic thyme roast chicken with cauliflower is the one recipe you need and the only recipe you will ever use for whole roasted chicken. Perfect every time, crispy skin, juicy and flavorful. A complete meal made in a cast iron skillet.
If I had to pick one recipe that I think everyone should have in their back pocket it would be a whole roasted chicken. It is the simplest pleasure, a divine joy. When done well, perfectly crispy and juicy, loaded with flavor, and honestly quite easy. Yet, I think it is a recipe that most people are quite intimidated by.
The first time I roasted a chicken I screwed it up. Famously.
Screwing up a recipe, however, is in fact how you learn. I was a bratty teenager with one chore when I came home from school, put dinner in the oven. My mother left instructions on how to roast a chicken, seasoning, basting, temperature, time, etc.
I did it, albeit with a snarky attitude, but when I took the chicken out of the oven something was very wrong. I called Mom to sweetly tell her, “There is no meat on this stupid thing”. She assured me that was impossible and I was being ridiculous. She would be home in an hour. Just cover it with tinfoil and stop being a brat.
“There is NO meat on this bird, Mom! I’m telling you, I just tried to steal a piece and I cut right into bone.” I had to have the last word. #teenager
In an hour she returned home to sweetly tell me, “You roasted it upside down, dummy. There is plenty of meat on this bird, it’s just not found on it’s back!”. Mom – 1, bratty teenager – 0.
So my first time was a failure, but I have since mastered this simple recipe. And just in time because I opted-in to the whole organic chicken share from my CSA, 12 whole chickens per season. In my 2 years of CSA bliss, I have roasted nearly 24 chickens. A few of my chickens I’ve used for soup and I let Jordan have a few for his beloved gumbo, but most of the time we really look forward to a simple roast chicken with veggies.
This recipe is a riff off of the genius recipe from the Food 52 Genius Cookbook, which has simplified and perfected how to roast a chicken. The method is quick and requires very little fuss. No trussing, no basting, not a ton of butter or oil. Just simple ingredients, one pan, high heat, and bam! You just roasted a chicken. The formula works – 500°/ 10 minutes per pound. I’ve only found it to be faulty when I’ve roasted a bird that was really tiny, say 3lbs. or less, in that case, it was underdone and needed a bit more time.
The cauliflower and entire head of garlic (#sorrynotsorry), roasted in the cast iron skillet with the chicken, turn sweet and caramelized and heady with thyme. When the chicken is finished remove it from the pan, carefully. Lift with a wooden spoon and tongs, allow the chicken jus to drip into the pan with the cauliflower and toss together. It is the BEST cauliflower you will ever taste in your whole life.
The recipe does serve 4 but honestly, Jordan and I typically polish this off in one sitting. We do have some help.
There is nothing in the whole wide world that my dog loves more than chicken. We have had to start spelling the word in our house or simply refer to it as CH, or else she goes nuts. This chicken photo shoot was without a doubt the most challenging shoot we’ve ever had. Penelope could not understand why there was a chicken in the living room (that’s where our photo set up is) and why in the world we weren’t giving it to her.
So my dog loves it, I love it, Jordan loves it… clearly this recipe is a BIG crowd pleaser 🙂
I carve the chicken and plate it together with the cauliflower and garlic.Rustic. I am the official chicken carver due to my exceptional skills 😉 My second restaurant job ever in the city was about a billion years ago (or 15 at least) at a french restaurant where I had to carve a whole chicken table-side. I was a bad ass chicken carver in a terrible french waiter uniform. I still am, sans the uniform.
Make sure you eat the garlic, I beg you! It is the best part. Just let it ooze out and spread it on your cauliflower and chicken.
If you have leftovers (you won’t) the chicken makes a great sandwich the next day, or you can toss the it with some greens and veggies for a killer salad.
It’s time to roast your first chicken, and this is the recipe to use!
Thanks for reading Abra’s Kitchen! To see what goodness I’m whipping up be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. If you make this recipe tag #abraskitchen on Instagram so I can see your creation 🙂
- 4lb. Whole Organic Chicken
- 2 tbsp butter
- ½ tbsp sea salt
- ½ tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 heads of garlic, one sliced in half, other head divided into cloves (skin on or off, doesn't matter)
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 500°
- Rinse chicken and pat dry
- Stuff cavity of chicken with butter, 8 sprigs of thyme, 1 head of garlic cut in half, ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper
- Season outside of chicken with remaining salt and pepper
- Place chicken in a large cast iron pan and place in oven, legs first. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and using a wooden spoon, inserted into the cavity of the chicken, shimmy the chicken around a bit so it doesn't stick to the pan.
- Scatter cauliflower, remaining garlic cloves and thyme around chicken. *Note* if your pan isn't big enough to fit all of the cauliflower place ½ on separate baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Do not overcrowd the pan with chicken
- Place chicken and cauliflower back in oven for 30 minutes. Stirring cauliflower once during cooking.
- The cook time is for a 4 lb. chicken, essentially 10 minutes per pound. Add or reduce time according to size of your chicken.
- Remove cast iron pan from oven, and carefully lift chicken out of pan allowing juices to drip onto cauliflower. Place chicken on a large cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes. If you roasted additional cauliflower separately add it chicken pan and toss together with other cauliflower. Allowing all the luscious chicken juices, butter, garlic, and thyme to coat the cauliflower.
- Carve chicken and serve immediately.
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