- Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
- 1 (31/2- to 4-pound) roasting chicken
- 3 tablespoons cold butter, divided
- 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- ½ teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- Wine, chicken broth, or water (optional)
How to Make It
- Preheat the oven to 450°. Pull the liver, gizzard, and other innards from the cavity, and save for another use or discard. Dry the chicken inside and out with paper towels. Remove the flaps of fat from the cavity opening there should be one on each side. (If your butcher has removed the fat, you can use cold butter for this step. Figure on 1 tablespoon for each breast.) Cut each piece of fat in half. Work your fingers under the skin of each breast, being careful not to tear it, going as far back as you can. Put two pieces of the cavity fat under the skin on each breast, one in back, toward the wing, the other farther forward near the leg. Position them fairly high up so that, as the chicken cooks, they melt down over and into the breast meat, keeping it moist.
- Poke the lemon with a poultry needle to make about 12 holes. Insert the lemon in the cavity. Now put the garlic, rosemary, and a little salt and pepper in there, and close up the cavity with the needle.
- Rub the chicken all over with about half the softened butter, then sprinkle it with the paprika and salt and pepper.
- Put the rest of the softened butter in a Lodge cast iron skillet, and turn the burner to high. Once the butter has melted and is sizzling, put the chicken in the pan, breast side up. It should fit snugly, with the legs almost touching the wall of the pan. If they do touch, that’s fine. Let the chicken sizzle in the pan for a minute or two, then put it in the oven. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven, and leave the bird in it for another 30 minutes. Do not open the oven.
- Take the pan out of the oven, and let the chicken rest in it for at least 20 minutes. With an instant-read thermometer, check the internal temperature at the thigh; it should be 165°. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Carve it, and cover with aluminum foil to keep it warm while you heat up the pan juices you can add a little wine, chicken broth, or water to it if you like. Let it boil for a couple of minutes, then, off the heat, stir in remaining 1 tablespoon cold butter, whisking or stirring until it melts into the juices. Serve the chicken pieces with the pan juices poured over.