A Big Ol’ Spring Chicken In A Cast Iron Pan
We’re looking at things a little differently now, aren’t we? I mean, first of all, we’re measuring rain instead of snow. And with a bit of added daylight, we can see signs of growth and renewal instead of dead or dying leaves, limbs and branches. Backyard visitors increasingly take more time to stop by, look around, and check out the blue-plate special of the day. And as for myself, thank you for asking, I’m starting to feel a little more chipper instead of resembling a sedentary moss ball spreading over the furniture on its way down to the floor. It’s always good to be able to spend more time outside and, for me, you probably already know that means hanging out around the grill. Today’s outside time resulted in a grill-roasted, spatchcocked chicken with a springtime vibe that was easy to prepare using the trusty old Weber and a single cast iron pan, albeit a tight-fitting single cast iron pan. But isn’t tight-fitting how we’re all feeling right now? I suppose I could’ve named this tight-fitting chicken squeezed in a pan, but like most of you, I’m not eating anything with squeezed chicken in the name.
It all starts with spatchcocking the bird. Mine was about a four-pounder, a little less after the backbone was cut out and the chicken was flipped over and smashed flat to break the breastbone. Sounds violent, I know and believe me, it is, but it also cuts cooking time nearly in half and provides a tender and juicy grilled or roasted bird.! The chicken was lightly seasoned with cracked pepper and set aside, while some cut onions, small creamer potatoes, baby portobello mushrooms, asparagus, marinated artichoke hearts, sliced lemon, and smashed garlic cloves were all gathered up and prepped. The potatoes and onions were cut to be similar sizes when needed and then first to be tossed with lemon slices and olive oil and then spread out into an oiled cast iron pan over hot coals. After a few minutes, the smashed garlic can be added.
After about 15 minutes or so, whenever the veggies are seared and softened, the chicken is flopped, yes flopped, directly over the coals, cut side down, and seared for about five minutes. Then with a maneuver that would be much easier if we had another arm or two, the chicken was flipped and flopped yet again, skin side down while the back is brushed with a marinade (provided below). Another five minutes and the chicken was once again flipped and flopped, but this time get it was into the cast iron pan containing the seared potatoes and friends.
Now the asparagus gets a quick sear over direct heat while we figure where the heck it’s going to go in pan with the rest of the stuff. Once ready, now is the time to artfully display the asparagus and artichokes in the pan alongside the chicken. This one isn’t artfully displayed, but yours can be if you’re the artsy type.
Now all that’s left is for this chicken to come up to temperature. The thighs will likely be done first, so while rotating the pan, I gave the breast side more heat and fire time to even things out. A good squeeze of lemon juice or a drizzle of white wine would be good over the top of the chicken when it’s nearly done.
Surrounded by spring vibes and deriving grill-roasted tenderness and deliciousness from a cast iron pan full of roasted ingredients, this one pan Spring Spatchcocked Chicken and Veggies provides everything you want, and it holds all that goodness for leftover pickins’. It really does put a little extra pep in your step, mostly when rushing in for seconds. And that’s perfectly okay.
Because Life Is Better Wood Fired
Spring Spatchcocked Chicken and Veggies
- Charcoal grill
- Cast Iron Pan
- Whole Chicken
- Small Creamer Potatoes
- Onion, Quartered
- Garlic, Smashed
- Marinated Artichoke Hearts
- Lemon Slices
- Whole Mushrooms
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tbsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste