Mastering Cast Iron Chicken

Looking to channel your inner chef? Are you bored with your go-to recipes? We’re here to help and provide inspiration for new meals you can make at home with Vinous in the Kitchen. Led by Eric Guido, Vinous’ resident Italian wine critic and also a professionally trained chef, Vinous in the Kitchen is a series of delicious recipes you can easily prepare at home. Through his video tutorial and accompanying article, Eric will guide you through each recipe step-by-step, offering useful tips and techniques, as well as ideas on wine pairings. Find the bottles on Delectable, and make sure to share your own favorite pairings. An impressive Cast Iron Chicken is on the menu today. Buon appetito! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Not just a cool name, Cast Iron Chicken is a huge crowd-pleaser, which also gives the chef (you) the ability to do most of the work beforehand through proper preparation. Also, imagine a perfectly cooked chicken with moist white meat, intensely flavored dark meat, and crispy skin. What’s more, you can build your entire dinner in one large pan. Serve it family-style or plate it; you’ll be everyone’s hero the moment they get to the table. How is this all possible? It’s the combination of high heat, regulated and evenly distributed through the weighty, density of cast iron, along with applying a technique that many refer to as Spatchcock to your chicken. Fancy names aside, what we’re simply doing is partially deboning and partitioning the bird into even-size pieces that will cook together perfectly. Sounds like a lot of work, right? Honestly, it’s not. With just a little practice, you’ll find this to be one of the easiest yet deeply satisfying preparations in your arsenal. So, get your kitchen shears, your sharpest knife, and your favorite cast iron pan, and let’s roast some of the crispiest, most flavorful chicken that you’ve ever tasted. WATCH THE FULL VIDEO TUTORIAL HERE INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED: For the marinade: 1 tbsp garlic granules 1 tsp salt ½ tsp paprika ½ tsp oregano ½ tsp basil 1 tsp apple cider vinegar 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil For the pan: 3 ½ - 4-pound chicken 2 - 3 red potatoes (cut to bite-size pieces), tossed with olive oil, garlic granules, paprika, salt, and pepper 3 - 4 stalks of celery (cut to bite-size pieces) 3 - 4 carrots (cut to bite-size pieces) 4 - 6 Shiitake or Portobello mushrooms (quartered) 3 - 4 slices of bacon (halved) Salt and pepper to taste WINE PAIRINGS: Pinot Noir featured: 2016 Montsecano Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley Carricante featured: 2014 Terre Nere Etna Bianco Santo Spirito Sangiovese featured: 2018 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino PREPARING YOUR MARINADE AND YOUR BIRD (4-5 HOURS PRIOR TO DINNER): 1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic granules, salt, paprika, oregano and basil. Then add your apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, and whisk together until consistently smooth. 2. Now prepare your station; have a large cutting board, a bowl for trimmings, a large Ziploc bag, butcher’s twine (about 18 inches long), a pair of kitchen shears, and a sharp boning knife (or other sharp, thin gauge blade.) 3. Lay the chicken, breast down, and, using the kitchen shears, cut along and through the backbone and ribs along each side of the spine. (Save the spine for stock and also remove any neck or liver reserved inside the bird for later use.) 4. Fold open the spineless bird like a book. You could technically stop paring the bird down here if you like. You’ve achieved Spatchcock, but I prefer to have more control of the pieces. 5. Run a sharp knife under the remaining ribs of the chicken to separate them from the breast meat, and then cut through the breastbone with your kitchen shears to remove them. Repeat this process on both sides of the rib cage. Look for any small bone particles or sharp edges that may be poking out and trim those out as well. 6. Now cut along the skin that attaches the thigh to the chicken, being careful not to remove any skin from the breast. Repeat this with both thighs. The leg and thighs can now be placed into your zip lock bag. 7. With the breast still facing down, tuck the wing tips under the breastbone and tie them with your butcher’s twine. Flip the breast over, and with your hand, fold any skin or meat that is hanging off the breast back underneath, and cross the butcher’s twine across and back under. Flip one more time and tie the twine snuggly. 8. Place the chicken breast into the Ziploc bag. 9. Stir the marinade one more time and pour it into the Ziploc bag, on top of your chicken. 10. Press as much air as possible out of the bag and seal it. 11. Place this into your refrigerator for at least four hours, flipping it over from time to time to evenly distribute the marinade. CAST IRON CHICKEN: 1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees, with the cast iron pan inside of it. Start this at least 20 minutes prior to cooking, to assure that both the oven and pan are up to full temperature. I like to also add a small cooking grate at the bottom to prevent the vegetables from burning. This is also a good time to take out your chicken and allow it to start coming up to room temperature in a bowl on the side. 2. Once fully heated, remove the cast iron pan from the oven (careful, it’s hot) and add the potatoes, carrots and celery. I like to keep them as separate as possible. 3. Now lay your chicken breast across the middle and toward the top of the pan. 4. Next add your legs and thighs on both sides, crossing the legs over the thinnest part of the breast. Season generously with salt. 5. Place the pan back into the center of your oven, bring the heat down to 435 degrees, and set the timer for 40 minutes. 6. Make sure to check the chicken at around 25 minutes to ensure no parts are taking on more color than others, and if necessary, lay slices of bacon over those areas. Also add your mushrooms to the pan around the edges of the chicken. 7. At 40 minutes, remove your chicken and mushrooms from the oven and take it out of the pan, then cover lightly with aluminum foil. It should rest for 15 to 20 minutes. 8. Return the pan with the vegetables to the stovetop over a high flame, and sauté them in the rendered chicken fat. 9. Once complete, you can plate by placing the roasted vegetables along the sides of a large serving platter and then place the chicken in the middle, for tableside carving, along with the mushrooms and garnish with bacon. Or, you can plate individually, carving the breast, thighs, and legs in the kitchen, and then build individual plates. --Eric Guido, Mastering Cast Iron Chicken , May 2020 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Check out previous Vinous in the Kitchen Recipes: Jump Start Spring with Asparagus Risotto

Domaine Bachey-Legros

Vieilles Vignes Clos Rousseau Santenay 1er Cru Pinot Noir 2017

Very nice premier cru from Santenay. Would like to try again in several years as I think this has nice potential. Toward the more restrained side of fruit, but in a very satisfying brine-y way. Very nice mouthfeel with integrated tannins and a long smooth finish. Quite perfect with a buttermilk marinated roast chicken. — 4 years ago

Severn, Ira and 4 others liked this


Watson Ranch Chardonnay 2017

Very Burgundian in style. I still lean towards the Trout Gulch Chardonnay. Delicious with roast chicken. — 4 years ago

Alex, David and 31 others liked this
David T

David T Influencer Badge

Truly one of a limited amount of CA Chardonnay’s that buck the style in a good way & is very enjoyable. At least, to me.
Bryan Kesting

Bryan Kesting Premium Badge

I can’t argue with that.
Greg Gosselin

Greg Gosselin

Super quality and pedigree for under $50. Great producer.

Jean-Luc Jamet

Valine Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Syrah 2015

Baby rotie. Loaded with violets, juicy berries, roasted meat, and stemmy herbal things, with a briny olive note that played nicely with this here Mediterranean chicken situation — 4 years ago

Stephen, Chris and 16 others liked this
Ellen Clifford

Ellen Clifford Influencer Badge Premium Badge

Omigosh was just reading Victoria James’ book and there’s a whole revelation about Jamet...enjoy that!
Matt Perlman

Matt Perlman Influencer Badge

@Ellen Clifford Yup this is from the younger Jamet brother Jean-Luc who hung up his own shingle a few years back. It’s really stupendously good especially at the price

Bodegas Juan Gil

(Silver Label) Jumilla Monastrell

Lively. Angel’s breath. Lively earth and dry bush on the nose, a moderate mouthfeel. The tannins were not assertive but supported the acidity. Was perfect for a roast chicken. — 4 years ago


Unfiltered Casablanca Pinot Noir

Garnet red color; dried strawberry, lip-smacking fruit, some underbrush character. Good tannic grip, light dustiness, long 30-second finish that you just savor. — 7 years ago

Daniel P. liked this

Reeve Wines

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Delightful with roast chicken — 4 years ago

Leo liked this

Bodega Comando

La Bruja Avería Rozas de Puerto Real Grenache 2018

fresh squeezed grapefruit on the nose and palate upon opening. tightly wound out of the bottle but opened up after an hour in a decanter. time reveals a kiss of cherry and an underlying salinity mixed with a trace of iron. light to medium body and color. not a cocktail wine, but EXCELLENT with food. paired perfectly with black pepper chicken. definitely a go to for weeknight meal pairings. — 4 years ago

Robert Ampeau & Fils

Pommard Pinot Noir 1999

It has been about 4.5+ years since I last rated one of these (I think it is my last one of a half case). For a Villages 20+ years old, it was a delicious wine. Unlike in June 2015, this wine was pretty much singing from the open (last time it needed 30-45 minutes to open up). Enjoyed it with a sous vide pork chop (finished on a cast iron skillet) with garlic and shallots, plus a cous cous. Solid meal and wine for COCID-19 self quarantine and social distancing. — 4 years ago

Severn liked this


Rosso di Montalcino Sangiovese Blend 2013

This is a lovely Rosso with super minerality that reminds me a bit of pencil lead. Nice dark cherry fruit with balsamic undernotes, medium plus length, a real treat! — 8 years ago