The genius cooking method for this roast chicken is borrowed from Melissa Clark (New York Times), who recommends splaying the legs of a whole chicken in a cast iron skillet so the thighs cook as quickly as the white meat. Bok choy and scallions are thrown in the skillet too, and become so caramelized in chicken fat that they’re more of a garnish than a vegetable side, which is a very, very good thing. Just make sure to sauté extra bok choy in a separate skillet to make the meal complete.
- 4 – 4-½ lb chicken
- 2 TBSP melted coconut oil
- 1-1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 cloves garlic, diced, plus 4 cloves garlic, sliced in half
- 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 8-oz (about 6 stems) bok choy, stalks cut away from the leaves (retain both)
- 6 scallions, bottoms trimmed
- Place a large cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat oven to 450° F. Let the skillet sit in the oven for 40 minutes (including preheating time).
- As soon as you turn on the oven, prepare the chicken. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Using kitchen shears, cut the skin and thin meat between the thighs and the breasts, so the legs can be pushed all the way down and splayed open.
- In a small bowl, mix together the coconut oil, salt, diced garlic and grated ginger. Rub the mixture over the chicken, loosening the skin so the oil can also be rubbed directly on the meat. Set the chicken aside, allowing it to come to room temperature while the oven and cast iron skillet heat.
- When the skillet is preheated, carefully bring it out of the oven. Very carefully set the chicken, breast side up, in the hot skillet. Press down on the legs so they are flat against the pan, being careful not to touch the hot pan! Roast chicken for 30 minutes.
- Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and add the bok choy (stems and leaves), scallions and sliced garlic to the pan. With tongs, flip the bok choy leaves and scallions a few times, making sure to coat them lightly with the pan juices. It might be hard to fit all the bok choy in, but it will cook down quickly in the oven. Put the skillet back in the oven and roast until chicken is cooked through, 15 to 25 minutes more.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and let the chicken rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.